Households in northern Ontario are not being treated equally under the province’s energy system, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said Wednesday.
In his latest report, the Financial Accountability Officer (FAO) indicated that households in northern Ontario paid more than 25 per cent more in home energy costs than households in Toronto, between 2012 and 2014. For electricity costs specifically, households in northern Ontario paid more than 45 per cent more.
“We were aware that the entire province is in the midst of a hydro crisis, but the Financial Accountability Officer’s report reveals the shocking disproportionately negative impact the Wynne government’s energy policies are having on Northern Ontario,” said Fedeli.
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) recently found 567,000 families were behind in their hydro bill payments at the end of 2015, owing a total of $172.5 million. The OEB also revealed that nearly 60,000 residential customers were disconnected from their hydro services in the past year for being unable to afford skyrocketing hydro rates.
Fedeli says a number of questions have also been raised about the reliability of Ontario’s hydro system. "The Annual Blackout Tracker recently revealed the number of power outages across the province increased by 275 per cent from just 2012 to 2015," he said.
“Lake Talon residents in my riding recently experienced a 25-day power outage this spring, yet were still forced to pay the Delivery Charge for power they never received. A month without the most basic necessities – in rural Ontario without power, you can’t pump water, or flush a toilet. Regardless of the government’s talking points, the FAO has confirmed the hydro system is neither affordable nor reliable in Northern Ontario."