Energy Minister claims power bill increases “flatlined”
Something is moribund, Parker Gallant says, but it’s the Minister’s handling of this portfolio that isn’t too healthy.
OEB rate increases are flatlined?
The Windsor Star on June 23, 2015 interviewed Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli; some of the comments from the article were very interesting.
Chiarelli said consumers have seen the last of sharp increases that averaged about six per cent annually over the last eight years. Starting next year, hydro rates for industrial users are expected to rise by 1.7 per cent — about the rate of inflation. Increases in rates for residential users will be “slightly higher,” he added and went on to note: “There was a blip in rate pressures because of the investments that we made, but starting in 2016 that will be flatlined very significantly.”
Here we are in 2016 and the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) just announced rate increases for the “electricity” line on our bills for the next six months commencing May 1, 2016. Just prior to the announcement the OEB issued a release stating they had “redefined” what a “typical” residential customer uses and dropped it from 800 kWh per month to 750 kWh. The effect of that “redefined” typical ratepayer reduces the monthly increase quoted in the press release.
Was intentional to support Energy Minister Chiarelli’s “flatlined” comment?
What the press release didn’t tell us was what “electricity” rates will actually increase. As an example Off-peak rates will increase from 8.3 cents to 8.7 cents; a 4.8% increase for 6 months and a 9.6% increase annually. Most households consume 67% of their electricity during the Off-peak hours so the rate increase for 67% of the “typical” bill increased by 9.6% not the 2.5% the press release pretended! For Mid-peak the rate increase was 3.1% for the 6 months and for On-peak the increase of 0.5 cents was 2.9% for six months.
So, in Energy Minister Chiarelli’s math—the “blip” he referenced, and his apparent misunderstanding of the English language term “flatlined” has a connotation bordering on death as Merriam Webster defines it: “to register on an electronic monitor as having no brain waves or heartbeat”.
There is a lot unsaid in the “flatlined” definition that ratepayers will no doubt consider as applicable to the mismanagement of the Energy portfolio, and the constant and incessant increases in their electricity bills every six months.
Minister Chiarelli recently announced he is seeking another 600 megawatts of industrial wind turbines that will no doubt continue the “flatlined” rate increases and add to the killing, harming and harassment of birds and bats and also result in more rural residents suffering from health effects caused by those industrial wind turbines.
Time for the Minister to stop the madness.
© Parker Gallant,
April 14, 2016
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.