A major issue facing families, seniors and businesses is the escalating cost of electricity. Smart meters were installed under the promise of saving us money, yet most customers will have substantial increases on top of the HST despite conservation efforts.
“Elected as mayor, I will champion the cause of fair electricity rates for family and business, both locally and provincially, and ensure our own hydro utility is operated in the best interest of ratepayers.”
Back in 2006, I first identified the illegal interference smart meters were causing to wireless devices such as cordless phones, which Chatham-Kent Hydro downplayed. As a result of my research, the media published articles exposing the problem. Embarrassed hydro officials were summoned before council.
While they wrongly claimed to be working with customers to mitigate interference, and provided other wrong and misleading information, hydro officials also deposed to council that smart meters would be revenue-neutral.
From the council minutes of July 23, 2007 – “The Chief Financial Officer explained that the average family that makes no changes to take advantage of the lower rates will pay on average, the same amount they pay now.”
Chatham-Kent Hydro customers didn’t start time-of-use billing until September 17 of 2010. That means our first bills with the higher rates may not arrive prior to the election. Over 80% of customers in other jurisdictions report hefty increases under the new smart meter scheme, and nobody seems to be saving money.
I have been investigating Chatham-Kent Hydro to find out where the money is going. When council was told that Chatham-Kent Hydro’s smart meter implementation came in cheaper than expected, they were preparing an application to the Ontario Energy Board to hike rates to recover nearly twice the amount. They were also allowed by the OEB to increase their profit margin.
When I inquired whether hydro executives received bonuses or raises based on smart meter windfalls, the municipality responded, “Chatham-Kent Energy and its subsidiaries are separate corporations that are incorporated under the Ontario Business Corporations Act. As such the Municipality of Chatham-Kent does not have access to the salaries of the employees and therefore the information is not available to the public.”
In other words, we can’t find out whether increased consumer costs are padding management’s wages.
This morning, CBC reported that Premier McGuinty has a secret report outlining further electricity rate increases, on top of the HST, smart meters, and approved hikes.
The Liberals have been dogged for weeks over rising home electricity bills, with opposition parties blaming McGuinty’s green energy policies, as well as July’s addition of the HST, for soaring costs.
They say they’re swamped with complaints from homeowners, who’ve already been hit with an extra eight per cent for electricity because of the HST, plus the costs of installing smart meters and moving to expensive time-of-use pricing.
Environmentalists are also warning that consumers may be hit with another rate hike this spring. – CBC.ca
Apparently, Cap-and-Trade or Carbon Tax schemes are rumoured to be involved.
Rising electricity rates will negatively impact the cost of living and doing business in Ontario, including Chatham-Kent. Here, taxpayers wholly own the utility, which could potentially help mitigate this impact if the PUC is run in a manner that avoids the waste and excessive management salaries that plague Hydro One.
Elected as mayor, I will champion the cause of fair electricity rates for family and business, both locally and provincially, and ensure our own hydro utility is operated in the best interest of ratepayers. I will push the province to remove HST from electricity prices and make sure our rates are competitive.
(Half of our bill consists of debt reduction charges, yet debt repayments are not supposed to incur HST. The delivery charge essentially pays for pre-existing infrastructure built with tax dollars. Smart meters were installed prior to the HST. None of these billing components should be taxable.)