“It’s time to take the HST off hydro” – Hampton

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QUEEN’S PARK – McGuinty’s energy credit won’t soften the blow from the harmonized sales tax, says NDP MPP Howard Hampton. “Families in northern Ontario are seeing their hydro bills skyrocket and the costs of driving keep going up,” said Hampton. “The energy credit doesn’t come close to covering the HST on gas, electricity, and home heating.”

Hampton noted that McGuinty’s hydro policies are forcing hydro rates through the roof. “From a billion-and-a-half billion dollar smart meter boondoggle to approving higher utility profit margins, the McGuinty Liberals are making Thunder Bay families pay more for electricity,” said Hampton.  “The government should be making life more affordable, not more expensive.”

The NDP MPP does not express how the costs of subsidizing solar and wind energy projects at up to $83 per kilowatt hour will impact future electricity rates.

Four years ago, speaking on the power issue, Thunder Bay Mayor Lynn Peterson said, “Urgent action must be taken because the forest industry job loss of 2,240 in just the City of Thunder Bay is the equivalent of 385,000 jobs in the City of Toronto. “When you include all of the continuing losses in all of the mill towns across Ontario you can see that we are experiencing an unprecedented economic catastrophe. I can say with certainty that the Ontario government must act quickly by providing immediate investment and policy change.”

The Ontario Government has moved on a few areas. One is to offer massive subsidies to wind farms and solar projects. Another is to support co-gen power projects for paper mills. There is a rebate program for the largest users, but it is not a rate likely to entice secondary processing of minerals from the “Ring of Fire”.

Ratepayers looking at their hydro bills are likely to start noticing that the associated fees and delivery costs are starting to soar, even though the actual power rate is remaining the same.

Hampton said the NDP’s plan to take the HST off hydro would give families a needed break from high hydro bills.

“It’s time to take the HST off hydro and give Thunder Bay families a break,” said Hampton. “Unlike McGuinty’s credits, they put money into people’s pockets immediately and don’t force them to jump through hoops.”

Hampton asked that Thunder Bay families sign the petition at www.HSToffHydro.ca.

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