Kathleen Wynne says high cost of hydro is concern across province

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says high electricity rates are a concern across the province and the provincial government may need to do more to help people struggling to pay their hydro bills.

Ontario premier acknowledges concern about hydro rates 'not isolated' to one Toronto riding

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne heard from residents in the north and residents in Scarborough-Rouge River that high hydro rates are a concern. 'So this is not something that is isolated in one riding in Toronto,' she said. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says high electricity rates are a concern across the province and the government may need to do more to help people struggling to pay their bills.

"This is a concern across the province, and I recognize that," Wynne told reporters at Queen's Park on Wednesday.​

Wynne said residents in northern Ontario and in Scarborough-Rouge River have told her they are feeling the pinch from high hydro rates.

"So this is not something that is isolated in one riding in Toronto," she said.

Wynne called the issue "urgent" for Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault. She said the province may need to make changes to its Ontario Energy Support Program, which is intended to provide monthly bill payment support to low income residents.

"What I know is, we haven't done enough." she said. "Quite frankly, those concerns are things that we now have to take to heart and we have to use them to inform our actions going forward."

Wynne, however, defended provincial investments in hydro infrastructure, saying the upgrades to the system were necessary.

"We had to make upgrades to have a reliable electricity system in the province. We have made those investments. And I recognize there is a cost associated with them."

Raymond Cho, who ran for the Progressive Conservatives, beat Liberal candidate Piragal Thiru in the Scarborough-Rouge River byelection last week. The Liberals had held that riding since 1999.

Electricity rates are set by the province and they have been increasing steadily as the Ontario government invests in cleaner energy.