Ontario residents should be able to choose flat-rate electricity prices from their local utility instead of being forced to pay time-of-use rates, says Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

But Energy Minister Brad Duguid said Hudak’s energy proposals are unworkable, and would drag the province back into the past.

Hudak told the Ontario Energy Association Thursday that time-of-use rates should not be the only option for consumers who haven’t signed retail contracts.

Under time-of-use rates, consumers pay more for electricity during peak use periods, such as mornings and evenings, and pay lower prices on weekends and overnight when demand is moderate.

“Those who can adapt their behaviour should be given a time-of-use structure that will reward conservation,” he said following the speech “But for the families who cannot, they should be given the choice at the very least of a flat rate.”

Hudak said the Liberals under Premier Dalton McGuinty are treating all families alike.

“He’s got to give an option to the senior citizen who Dalton McGuinty is lecturing to get up at two in the morning to do her wash, or the shift worker who’s impacted. So offer choice to consumers.”

Energy minister Brad Duguid said running a dual price system is unworkable: “That kind of an option would be very, very difficult for local distribution companies to administer.”

He also noted the government has introduced an energy and property tax relief credit for low-income Ontarians hit hard by hydro price increases, granting eligible seniors up to $1,025.

Latest From ...