Local Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman is glad to see the provincial government will be reducing the cost of hydro but is hesitant to say he agrees with its solution.
"It seems that the solution that they've found is just deferring the cost further down the road," Hardeman said. "It doesn't seem to me to be the right approach.
"Obviously, we have to look at the root cause as to why we have such outrageous hydro prices," he added, "and reduce the cost so (we're) not pay(ing) it today but we don't have our children and grandchildren having to pay it years down the road." In a column that Hardeman wrote last week, he said he is pleased the government has listened to Ontario residents who need relief from soaring electricity prices. Still, the Oxford MPP remains concerned with the approach they are taking.
The provincial government recently announced its plans to cut hydro bills for Ontario residents and businesses by an additional 17 per cent this summer. This target is going to be reached, however, by paying the costs of the electricity generation contracts over longer periods, which will mean higher interest fees down the road.
Hardeman told the Sentinel-Review there are reasons why there are such outrageous hydro prices, and it has to do with policies the provincial government has put in place.
"One of the main ones is, of course, the Green Energy Act, which is putting a lot of the cost of the hydro that they're paying for and putting it into the global adjustment pot and trying to pay for it that way," Hardeman said. "If they don't look at how we got into this mess and solve that problem, obviously the mess is going to keep growing as time goes on." Hardeman said there are a number of issues with the Liberal government's proposed plan. While acknowledging the Conservatives have yet to put forward their plan, he said it's difficult for his party to provide a solution when it doesn't know all of the circumstances.
"They're keeping so much of their numbers hidden that we don't know what's going on," he said. "There are some things that become quite obvious. We've got to quit signing contracts for power for more money than the market says it's worth.
"The second thing is that we have to look at the cost of running Hydro One and (Ontario Power Generation)," Hardeman added. "First of all, we have to quit the sell off, but hiring a new CAO who was supposed to help facilitate the sell-off ... who get's $4 million a year. There's no justification for that."