Editorial: Water and power are essential. Disconnecting services when people can’t afford to pay is cruel.
In the last 10 years, the cost of living (along with health care) has skyrocketed in Ontario. More people are working, but now we have fewer and fewer people who are paid enough to live or in decent conditions.
And, we are drowning in a sea of debt.
In January 2012, I met the former President of the Ontario Utilities Commission and was impressed with the level of service the OUC provides our customers. I can tell you it is one of our best customer services departments and has become a critical part of our government’s public policy.
The Government of Ontario has made reducing our deficit a top priority. We will invest in the people, in the communities and in the infrastructure that will help solve our biggest challenge. We will do this by using the power of the public purse to address the challenges we face.
However, what is often overlooked by the business community is that government intervention in the energy sector also plays a key role in the affordability of our electricity and natural gas.
According to the Government of Ontario’s Consumer Council, the average monthly electricity bill is now $90, but electricity prices are expected to double over the next decade and continue to be unaffordable for most people over the next decade for the following reasons:
• The need for more fossil fuels is projected to increase the demand for electricity.
• The rate at which Ontario’s electricity infrastructure can be built and upgraded is projected to double by 2025.
• Our energy infrastructure is aging.
• The costs associated with transmission and storage are rising.
• The costs associated with the increased use of renewable resources is being borne by the ratepayers.
• The costs associated with the replacement of aging infrastructure are being borne by the ratepayers.
While it may initially be a surprise to hear that the cost of the energy itself is one source of the increasing cost of gas and electricity, this is no longer a surprise to me. I was an