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More help with energy costs on the way, says Minister

Wednesday, December 04, 2013   by: Darren Taylor

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, in a teleconference Wednesday, touted the provincial government’s updated Long-Term Energy Plan, “Achieving Balance,” as a 20-year plan that will provide “reliable, clean and affordable” energy for Ontarians.

The plan was unveiled by Chiarelli on Monday.

That “Balance” contained within the Plan’s official title will be needed, as the Ontario Energy Board says new electricity prices that took effect November 1 add three percent (or about four dollars) on to the average monthly household bill.

Energy costs for the average household will rise from $125 to $178 (a 42 percent hike) over the next five years.

However, in his Wednesday teleconference, Chiarelli said there are many supports in place to assist homeowners deal with those rising costs, with more supports coming in 2015.

A new support coming in 2015 for homeowners, Chiarelli told SooToday.com, is the "on-bill financing for energy efficiency retrofits"

“That’s going to be managed by your local utility company (Sault Ste. Marie PUC), which will be doing the billing and overseeing the program.”

“The program will be available to anybody and won’t depend on income,” Chiarelli said.

On-bill financing would come in the form of loans and paid back through electricity bills.

“You’ll be paying for it, and when it’s paid off, it’ll be all net savings if you participate in the program.”

Retrofits and upgrades, Chiarelli said, could include “new windows, upgrades to a furnace, air conditioning…the premise of the program is for you to reduce your energy costs, and this program will pay for itself within a reasonable period of time.”

Among existing supports, Chiarelli said, are the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit which reduces hydro bills by 10 percent for residents, farmers and small business owners, the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit which can save qualified customers up to $963 a year ($1,097 for qualified seniors), and the Northern Ontario Energy Credit which can save families up to $210 a year (individuals up to $137 a year).

There is also a Low Income Energy Assistance Program and a Save On Energy Home Assistance Program for people having a tough time paying their energy bills.

On the industrial side, Chiarelli told us that the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program (NIERP), which has helped three major Sault Ste. Marie employers (Essar Steel Algoma, Tenaris Tubes and Flakeboard) with energy costs related to production, will continue through to 2016.

In the face of rising energy costs, Chiarelli said: “These programs will continue to be extremely helpful.”

Chiarelli conceded Ontario will not be able to compete with energy prices in Quebec and Manitoba, “as Quebec’s system is almost completely hydroelectric.”

“Having said that, we in Ontario do a significant amount of hydro which helps keep our prices down.”

There is no plan, Chiarelli said, to introduce a two-tier system with a separate energy pricing scheme for Northern Ontario, referring again to the supports he listed for residents and businesses as adequate.

Defending the Liberal government’s energy record, Chiarelli said since 2003 the province does not experience extended blackouts, and is on track to completely end Ontario’s reliance on what he called “cheap, dirty coal,” claiming there has been a decreased burden on Ontario’s healthcare system as a result of renewable energy projects (wind turbine and solar farms).

While Chiarelli said he understands renewable energy is more expensive than coal-fired energy, he maintained the government is striving to keep energy as affordable as possible.

All of which is bound to be met with skepticism from ratepayers who have trouble making ends meet as they pay their energy bills (and all other bills), and from opponents of wind turbine farms who vehemently maintain wind farms are an eyesore on the landscape, harmful to humans and wildlife, and simply do not produce electricity affordably and effectively. 

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jojo12345 12/5/2013 1:37:04 AM Report

what we need to do to receive this
S.Claus 12/5/2013 6:46:32 AM Report

How about just charging for the electricity being used without all the extra delivery charges etc.
Zap 12/5/2013 7:15:23 AM Report

Sounds like another ponzi scheme with the tax payers money.
D0BBER 12/5/2013 7:19:04 AM Report

The rate charge is regulated by government, the delivery charges and others arent .. that is managed at the local level and largely unregulated !!

scottstewy123 12/5/2013 7:53:25 AM Report

What a load of manure
scottstewy123 12/5/2013 7:54:05 AM Report

Thanks NDP for propping this corrupt government up.
Wisenheimer 12/5/2013 7:54:50 AM Report

jojo .. enough money to pay them back.
KFM 12/5/2013 7:55:37 AM Report

So we are suppose to be happy that we can possably, but most likely not, recieve a 210 dollar break on the extra 700 to 800 in costs, not to say because of the goverments privatization efforts hundreds in extra delievery charges that the utilitys will be charging. This government is @@@@@@ in the head!
Wal 12/5/2013 8:05:53 AM Report

If they raise it any more people will have to sell there homes, as it is our hydro bill is more than my mortgage and having one heck of a time paying the hydro for the winter months.how much more do they want.I guess they want us to pay for the new building they have on Second Line sooner.
guestwho 12/5/2013 8:17:40 AM Report

why don`t they build a new energy plant,shouldn`t cost more than a billion dollars to get started!!!NOT LOL
learningaswego 12/5/2013 8:41:10 AM Report

I love how the Liberal weasels always present their next extortion of us on energy prices, as what the increase will be on the "average monthly bill".
They don't ever want you to know, that in the 70's and 80's and even early 90's - MILLIONS of people in Ontario bought homes with electric heat; which at the time was the best and cheapest way to heat your home. To try to convert MILLIONS of these same homes to a gas system, is either just not possible, practical, or too expensive for many people.
People that heat with electrical energy should get a substantial rebate from these Liberal weasels who are increasing the primary source of energy every six months.
Jitterbug 12/5/2013 8:59:02 AM Report

Gas is next to skyrocket!Sounds like they want to become retrofit loan sharks now.WE will all be forced to convert to coal!we need new government.
scottstewy123 12/5/2013 9:19:16 AM Report

The problem also will be the weasels in Toronto made huge CONTRACTS with these green energy companies. Once a new government comes in it will be difficult to shred those agreements up. As soon as the next government does shred up the agreements the province will get sued.Then you and I will have to pay for it. People like Mr David Orazietti voted and promoted this. Our MPP made a deal that was bad for you and I. Our MPP knew full well this will be so costly. They try to spin this like we are getting a huge saving which we all know we are getting ripped off. I have called Mr O's office but the punk will not even respond to me. He will not face the Ontario taxpayer of how we are getting ripped off on our electric bills. People the only way is to jam both the Toronto office and local office of Mr Orazietti. And you need to do it on a daily basis. They will not call back because they know there energy policies are bad and costly for you and I. This folks is the shining example of the LEFT when they get in power ,it costs more for us to live.
Jitterbug 12/5/2013 9:23:35 AM Report

Brookfield Brascan made 1.4 billion profit last year!!!
derek 12/5/2013 9:40:24 AM Report

scottstewy123

Calling him a punk wont help you..

Send a registered letter, email or fax and then he has a legal obligation or at leaset one of his staff at bare minimun to respond to your concerns..

You wont get very far but he has at least to respond to your concerns..

derek 12/5/2013 9:41:31 AM Report

Remember that MP's work for us!

scottstewy123 12/5/2013 11:50:54 AM Report

Well he is a punk
Kevin5069 12/5/2013 12:18:23 PM Report

We are all required to help pay down Ontario's debt.. That was mismanaged by a completely incompetent Liberal government.

Just imagine the savings if we didn�t pay a $1 billion for gas plants that were never built, but still made some people very, very rich!
AAP 12/5/2013 12:49:19 PM Report

Here's some logic...What I pay for electricity pays to support these green energy initiatives. I have electric everything. For me to lower my yearly bill (which will be about $4500 to $5000 this year) I basically have to burn fossil fuels which will lower my electricity bill & therefore my support of green energy. Households that heat with electricity should definitely receive a substantial discount in my opinion. My house is already well insulated & has newer windows.
scottstewy123 12/5/2013 1:48:42 PM Report

Deerek you have forgotten. Our MPP does not work for us here in the North. He works HARD for the CAP AND TRADE LOVIN Fiberals.
woodstove 12/5/2013 2:29:22 PM Report

B.S.!
learningaswego 12/5/2013 4:06:54 PM Report

Liars! Weasels! Deceivers!
Bottom-feeder scumbags!
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