It is no secret that the previous Liberal government made a mess of our electricity system, a mess left to be paid for by Ontario’s electricity customers.
In 2008 our electricity system cost $14.7 billion dollars to operate annually. Ten years later these system costs jumped to $20.2 billion dollars annually.
Why this sudden jump in fixed costs?
In 2009 the Ontario Liberals ushered in the infamous Green Energy Act, veiled as a quick-fix to conquer climate change and an opportunity to turn Ontario’s electricity system into the Liberals private spending account.
In the following years the Liberals signed over 20,000 contracts for wind and solar power we didn’t need. In her 2015 report, Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk identified that the fixed-term contracts resulted in $9.2 billion more in renewable energy costs than necessary, citing $4 billion in interest payments alone to finance these wasteful contracts.
The Liberals responded to Lysyk’s alarm by signing an additional 1,326 wind and solar contracts. This careless spending of taxpayer dollars not only added an additional $5.5 billion in annual fixed costs (to be paid through Ontarian’s electricity bills), but racked up an incredible $40 billion in debt left in the “Fair Hydro Trust” scheme.
Had the Liberals continued on this path, bills would have skyrocketed 30% higher than 2018 levels in just a few years.
The bottom line is when the electricity system costs more, electricity customers pay more.
This is the hydro mess — an electricity system overrun with unnecessary costs, generating electricity that Ontarians don’t use.
While it has not been easy to untangle the overtly secretive and complex accounting practices used to hide the misuse of taxpayer money, it’s nothing some good old-fashioned Tory pragmatism can’t fix.
Since the very beginning our government has focused on finding efficiencies and cost savings within our electricity system. In the first few months alone, we realized over $1 billion dollars in savings by canceling wasteful wind and solar contracts and streamlining Ontario’s electricity conservation programs.
We are reversing the Liberal polices of the past and bringing accountability back to Ontario’s electricity system. For too long energy decisions were made in the interest of Liberal donors and not the people of Ontario.
We are rebuilding an electricity system that prioritizes the people of Ontario and keeps the fixed costs of the electricity system low. In the meantime, Ontario families and business owners don’t deserve to pay the price for Liberal’s mistakes.
That is why on Nov. 1, when the Ontario Energy Board’s new electricity prices come into effect, our government will provide an updated Ontario Electricity Rebate of 33.2% off the subtotal of residential, small businesses and farm customers’ bills. This rebate supports the hardworking people of this province who weren’t at the decision-making table when the Liberals knowingly signed up for the billion-dollar debt that plagues our electricity system today.
We made a commitment to the people of Ontario to lower the cost of electricity bills and rebuild an accountable system. We cannot undo 15 years of wild mismanagement overnight.
Our government is bringing sound energy policy back to Ontario and keeping electricity bills low. Ontario’s electricity sector has a bright future ahead.
— MPP Greg Rickford is Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs