“I should not have to be choosing between electricity and food for my children. But at this rate it could come to that.”
That’s what one Oxford County resident told Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman in a letter about hydro rates.
Last week, Hardeman put out a Facebook post asking his constituents to tell their stories and experiences with their hydro bills and how increases to those bills have personally affected them.
“The premier comes out with an eight per cent change in the price, what she doesn’t tell us is that eight per cent doesn’t kick in until January 1st, and in fact the schedule says hydro is going up again in November,” Hardeman said. “I think telling people they’re going to get some of the increase back in January is not the same as having a lower price for your hydro.”
Hardeman said this eight per cent rebate is just a Band-Aid solution for something that is bleeding too fast.
The people of Oxford have been responding to Hardeman’s request, and he said that he has found people are saying that these dramatic increases over a short period of time are too hard to work into a budget.
“A lot of people are living on a very tight budget,” he said. “They have every dollar coming in accounted for and then all of a sudden out of nowhere their hydro goes up so much they can’t afford to pay the bill.
“I’ve never had a post on Facebook that got as many shares as I’ve had with this one,” Hardeman added. “It really worries one to see that there are that many people having problems with their hydro bills.”
Hardeman said he had hoped to bring these stories to legislature to be part of the debate, but he said the government moved a closure motion to stop the debate, meaning the motion regarding the eight per cent rebate will now go to a committee before coming back for a third and final reading.
“They knew that the hydro rates were a problem in the province of Ontario and then all of a sudden when it comes forward and the people are very concerned about their solution, so much so that the numbers show there just wasn’t support out there for what they’re doing,” Hardeman said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen, where a throne speech or a budget speech offers a tax cut and then the government doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Hardeman said that the government has to do more when it comes to hydro rates.
“Today they announced that they are not going to sign any more large green contracts,” he said. “They’re starting to see what we’ve been telling them for two or three years. The high price that they’re paying on the green energy development is driving the price out of range for most people.”