Taking heat over rising hydro bills, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday the government will consider lowering electricity prices for off-peak use after 9 p.m.
The move comes amid reports that electricity users on “smart meters” aren’t conserving power during high-demand periods throughout the day by putting off appliance use until off-peak hours, likely because the rates aren’t that much lower.
“We may have to take a look at that,” McGuinty acknowledged. “The whole idea is that if you’re going motivate people, if you’re going to inspire them to do things at unusual times not in keeping with their usual habits, then we’ve got to make sure there’s a real incentive for them.”
It’s about time the government recognizes hydro bills are pinching the pocketbooks of consumers, given that the new 13 per cent harmonized sales tax also applies to electricity, said Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill).
Premier Dalton McGuinty says hydro rates in Ontario have been rising because the government has spent $8 billion on new electricity generation projects and $4 billion on transmission line upgrades to modernize the system.
- Current rates The current peak rate for electricity from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. is 9.9 cents per kWh, up from 9.1 cents in 2009, and the mid-peak rate is 8 cents, up from 7.6 cents per kWh last year.
- Niagara The new generation projects include a 10-kilometre tunnel under Niagara Falls.