Ontario is lowering electricity bills by 25 per cent on average for all residential customers as part of a significant system restructuring that will address long-standing policy challenges and ensure greater fairness.
Starting this summer, Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan would provide households with this 25 per cent break. Many small businesses in Burlington would also benefit from the initiative. People with low incomes would receive even greater reductions to their electricity bills. As part of this plan, rate increases over the next four years would be held to the rate of inflation for everyone.
These measures include the eight per cent rebate introduced in January and build on previously announced initiatives to deliver broad-based rate relief on all electricity bills.
Taken together, these changes will deliver the single-largest reduction to electricity rates in Ontario’s history.
Recently, electricity rates have risen for two key reasons:
The burden of financing these system improvements and funding these key programs has unfairly fallen almost entirely on the shoulders of today’s ratepayers. To relieve that burden and share costs more fairly, two system fixes are being undertaken.
Recognizing that the electricity infrastructure that has been built will last for many decades to come, the province would refinance those capital investments to ensure that system costs are more equitably distributed over time. In addition, a number of important programs, such as the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), will now be funded by the government instead of by ratepayers.
The province will also launch a new Affordability Fund, enhance the existing OESP and Rural or Remote Rate Protection (RRRP) program and provide on-reserve First Nations households with a delivery credit. These new measures will cost the government up to $2.5 billion over the next three years.
Notwithstanding that hydro rate relief costs will add significant pressure on the fiscal framework, the province continues to project a balanced budget for 2017-18, and will provide a full update on its fiscal plan in the spring budget.
Reducing electricity costs in Burlington is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
“Our government has heard concerns about the impact of energy costs and this announcement is a strong indication that we are both listening and acting on those concerns. Over the past 12 years, we have invested $50 billion to ensure that we have a reliable, efficient and modern electricity system. The investments required to create this system have been borne by today’s generation of ratepayers, yet the asset we have invested in is one which will endure for generations to come. Today’s announcement will see us amortize that investment over a longer period, providing immediate rate relief. We are also enhancing the rate structure, moving the cost of social programs which support low income Ontarians away from ratepayers. Finally, we are providing relief on distribution charges, and improving and strengthening existing measures so even more small and medium-sized businesses will see reductions. I’m proud of the steps we have taken and know that this historic relief program will make a real difference in the lives of Burlington residents and all Ontarians.”
–– Eleanor McMahon, Member of Provincial Parliament, Burlington
“The affordability of electricity has challenged many of our residential customers and we welcome the rate relief measures that the government has taken. We’re proud of the reputation we’ve earned of providing a safe and reliable source of power for our community. We look forward to working with the provincial government in implementing these changes.”
— Gerry Smallegange, President and CEO, Burlington Hydro Inc.
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