It’s been a wonderful holiday season! Our community of Hamilton East and Stoney Creek really does come alive this time of year. Whether I was out at one of the many events being hosted in our area or at home celebrating with family and friends, one really must be appreciative that we live in such a wonderful place.
One of the things I always notice this time of year is the Christmas lights. I’m always fascinated to see what creative designs some of us come up with. However, like with many other aspects of the holiday season, the bill to keep those Christmas lights going can be expensive. Whether it’s the lights, the stove to cook the big turkey, the heater, or the car start plug-in, our hydro bill over the holiday season often spikes.
Over the past few years our hydro prices during the holidays, and all times of year for that matter, have started to climb much higher relative to what they used to be. This is in large part due to the increased privatization of the provincially operated Hydro One Corporation which provides power to utility companies across the province including Horizon Utilities Corporation in our area.
The sale of Hydro One in exchange for immediate payout might appear to be a great plan on the surface, but there are going to be real problems that arise from this decision down the line. To start, the revenue stream that Hydro One provided to the provincial government is going to be significantly slashed. Over the next few years the payout gained from this sale will be peanuts compared to what that 60% ownership is worth in annual revenue.
Arguably, just as terrible will be the government’s loss of control over Hydro One. With ‘profit over people’ in mind for Ontario’s ever privatizing Hydro Corporation, it will only be a matter of time before outages become more common and hydro rates continue to skyrocket. Early signs of these trends are already becoming evident.
It was only a week or two ago that the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) ordered Hydro One to lower its most recently planned transmission rate increase of 4.8% for 2018. However, as the provincial government and public lose full control over Hydro One, intense rate hikes of this nature could become a reality.
We need a plan that is going to work, that will benefit all Ontarians in the long run and protect one of our province’s most valuable resources. As has been suggested by my fellow New Democrats, our provincial government needs to return Hydro One to public ownership. Through this plan, and other measures, we can reduce hydro prices by as much as 30%. From the single apartment renter to a local business and even to a factory, all will benefit.
Hydro bills, especially at this time of year, are very pricey. However, with the right changes to our province’s hydro provider, they sure don’t have to be!