Ontario Hydro Bills Allegedly Will Increase Over Next Decade
So, remember how the Ontario government, after ignoring the issue of rising hydro rates and skyrocketing electricity bills for years, finally acquiesced to a 25 per cent hydro rate cut in their recent budget? Many in the province saw that as political opportunism in response to the Ontario Liberals losing a couple of by-elections in the last few years, but at least the budget was balanced and we're getting a break on our electricity bills.
That sounded like great news....until a recently leaked provincial cabinet document suggested otherwise.
According to this leaked document recently shared by The CBC, while hydro bills in Ontario are projected to stay below last year’s record high until 2024, they will steadily climb back up and surpass $200 a month on average by 2028. The document shows projections for the average monthly hydro bill (tax included) that drop from $158 last year to $123 this year. The bigger jumps in prices start in 2022, when the government’s promise to keep rate increases below inflation expires. Bills are forecast to rise from $133 per month in 2021 to $215 per month in 2028.
If reading graphs makes your eyes hurt and you can't decipher these numbers, here's a graph provided by CBC based off the document leaked to the media by the Ontario Progressive Conservative opposition at Queen's Park.
Avg monthly hydro bill projections (based on leaked cabinet document)
2017 - $123
2018 - $126
2019 - $128
2020 - $131
2021 - $133
2022 - $142
2023 - $151
2024 - $161
2025 - $172
2026 - $183
2027 - $195
2028 - $215
In a news conference after this information was leaked, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault questioned the accuracy of the numbers but stopped short of denying them. So…he’s not saying it’s complete BS…maybe that the increases are not as big as being reported? UPDATE: Thibeault was on Newstalk 1010 (CFRB) Friday morning with host John Moore to clarify that the leaked document from yesterday contained outdated numbers.
As for how this affects the average ratepayer, according to CP24 the time-of-use rates are being lowered by removing from bills a portion of the global adjustment, a charge consumers pay for above-market rates to power producers.
For the next 10 years, a new entity overseen by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will pay that difference and take on debt to do so. Then, the cost of paying back that debt, which the government says will be up to $28 billion, will go back onto ratepayers’ bills for the next 20 years as a “Clean Energy Adjustment.”
I’m sure the government will have an official response in due time, but nothing like a little October surprise in the middle of May, huh?