Ontario Votes 2014

Power rates spark debate among Ontario candidates, voters

Election candidates in the northwest are touting their plans to deal with high electricity rates, according to a recent panel discussion on CBC Thunder Bay's Superior Morning radio program.
Election candidates in northwestern Ontario are speaking out on the issue of high electricity costs. (CBC)

Election candidates in the northwest are touting their plans to deal with high electricity rates, according to a recent panel discussion on CBC Thunder Bay's Superior Morning radio program.

The issue is also top-of-mind for many voters.

"Northern Ontario needs to disconnect itself from Southern Ontario. There's no reason why northern Ontario is subsidizing the hydro rates in southern Ontario who have to use nuclear and coal," said Terry Dyck, president and CEO of biotech company IGY Life Sciences.

The company creates antibodies, and wants to make over the counter supplements

"[Ontario is] charging now, after all the rates and the dust clears, 15-16 cents a kilowatt hour. Manitoba, right next door, is [charging] seven cents a kilowatt hour. So, how do we compete?"

Dyck said energy costs have him thinking twice about keeping his business in Ontario.

"We're looking at 1,000 … high paying jobs. But, the power's an issue. And Winnipeg's already courting my company to move to Winnipeg, where hydro's half. Hydro's a huge issue for my manufacturing cost."

Making sure there isn't 'waste'

Kenora-Rainy River NDP incumbent Sarah Campbell said her party would take the HST off electricity bills.

Campbell noted the head of Hydro One made $1.7 million a few years ago.

"Their CEO for Manitoba Hydro made $230,000 in 2011,” she said.

“So, it is possible, there is a lot of money that can be saved."

Progressive Conservative candidate Randy Nickle also said his party would look to trim costs.

"We need to look, top to bottom, through hydro to find out where the fat and the efficiencies are. We need to bring things down to earth and make sure there isn't waste."

Liberal Anthony Leek said, if elected, his party would eliminate the debt retirement charge on Hydro One bills.

He added the Liberals had to upgrade the Hydro One system after a lack of investment by a PC government.

"There's been 10 years of having to modernize and rebuild the electricity system,” he said.

“There's been a lot of investments, and that and that's just needed to happen to get where we needed to be so we have a reliable system."

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