New details on hydro relief plan: Ontario Liberals consider reductions
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017 9:08AM EST
The Ontario Liberal caucus is in discussions about a new plan to reduce hydro bills, CTV News has learned.
CTV Toronto Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Paul Bliss has confirmed that the Ontario Liberal caucus was presented with final options to reduce electricity prices at a meeting on Monday.
While no decision has been made, sources say Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet will make a final choice either this week or later this month. Senior officials told CTV Toronto that the plan will be unveiled to the public within weeks.
Depending on what cabinet decides, there are a range of savings options, from possibly eight per cent off the hydro bill to up to 12 per cent.
Some of the options being discussed include:
-Immediate relief for all electricity consumers
-Added relief for rural customers
-More support for low-income customers
Senior officials told CTV Toronto that the plan will likely target the global adjustment fee, which fluctuates based on per-kilowatt-hour cost, and makes up approximately 85 per cent of the cost of electricity.
The fee was introduced in 2005, to help the province pay for new power plants as well as for investments in new energy projects. Now the government is considering spreading out payment over a longer period.
Much of the relief is expected to come from the treasury, in the form of tax revenue, rather than hydro bill fees.
All customers receive eight per cent off their bills, when the government began subsidizing the HST, at a cost of $1 billion. The rebate, which came into effect on Jan. 1, is expected to save households approximately $130 a year.
Sources also told CTV Toronto that the government is still on track to balance its budget.
With a report by CTV Toronto Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Paul Bliss