Ontario is number ONE! In high auto insurance rates and electricity bills, that is
An article on auto insurance rates in the Globe and Mail July 9, 2014 claimed that Ontario suffers from the highest auto insurance rates in Canada and, worse, those rates are “45% more than Alberta, the second-most costly.” It would appear that the promise made by the Liberal government to Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP, to reduce auto insurance rates by 10% was not fulfilled.
Another article, in the Owen Sound Sun Times July 9, 2014 was titled, “Premier asked to ‘do something’ about hydro rates”! The article reported that Grey County Council is urging Premier Wynne to “do something as quickly as possible to bring hydro rates down to a reasonable level.” The council member who moved the motion said, “I am concerned about families but I’m also concerned about industry because if we don’t have industry, we won’t have jobs for families.” That prediction was borne out as the unemployment statistics released July 11, 2014 had this bad news as reported in the Globe and Mail: “Manufacturing in Ontario, which lost another 13,600 jobs, is now at its lowest point on records dating back to 1976.”
So, how do Ontario’s electricity compare to the rest of the country?
As it turns out, our next-door neighbours Manitoba and Quebec both boast of their abilities to generate and sell cheap (mainly hydroelectric) power to their residential and commercial customers; they produce comparative charts annually.
In Manitoba’s case the comparison is only to other Canadian locations whereas Quebec includes several U.S. cities. The Manitoba chart shows Winnipeg and compares it to three locations in Ontario: Toronto, Englehart and Kenora. The chart (as of May 1, 2014) has Englehart at the highest price out of the 14 on the list. Using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity per month in Englehart will cost you $2,190.60 a year (18.255 cents per kWh) versus $973.08 if you lived in Winnipeg, or only $846.96 if you live in Montreal, the lowest cost jurisdiction in Canada. I should mention that Englehart is serviced by Hydro One, the second costliest local electricity distributor (LDC) in Ontario—only slightly more costly than Toronto Hydro.
What that means: an Englehart resident pays 159% more than a Winnipeg household, and a Toronto household pays 121% more than a Montreal household.
The Manitoba Hydro chart says a Toronto resident pays $1,869.84 annually, but having received a bill in late May 2014, I would dispute that—the per-kWh charge was 18.27 cents versus the 15.582 cents per/kWh quoted on the Manitoba chart. At 1,000 kWh usage per month the annual bill for a Toronto resident would be $2,194.40 or slightly higher than Englehart. A Toronto Hydro bill retained from 2003 indicates the 1,000 kWh/per month usage would have attracted an annual cost of $909. Toronto Hydro’s rates have jumped 141% since then. I suspect that the Manitoba chart didn’t include the recent (May 1, 2014) increase in the electricity charge and perhaps other rate increases that affected both the delivery and regulatory rates. Even Environmental Defence estimates Ontario pricing at 17.5 cents/per kWh (while using bad math to suggest the cause wasn’t “renewable energy in a recent production” on their website).
The Manitoba chart left off Prince Edward Island; a check shows their prices (effective March 1, 2014) were 15.237 cents per kWh hour, for an annual bill for 1,000 kWh per month $1,828.44
Hydro Quebec’s chart is an index of price as of April 1, 2014, not actual pricing, and uses Montreal as the starting point of 100. The two Ontario cities on their chart have Ottawa prices at 80% more and Toronto prices at 82% more than rates in Montreal. Again, this comparison was prior to the (effective May 1, 2014) increases to electricity announced by the Ontario Energy Board.
More good news in the budget?
What the Liberals have achieved in Ontario in the space of 11 years is to set Ontario back decades in respect to manufacturing jobs, while allowing both our auto insurance and our electricity rates to march ever upwards.
We should expect more of the same to come from the upcoming budget.
July 11, 2014
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.