The Ontario Auditor General intends to publish a report assessing the Liberal government’s plans to lower electricity billing.
The leader of the Progressive Conservatives, Patrick Brown, made a written request to the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, suggesting a full analysis of the costs that would be incurred.
A spokesperson for the Auditor General said that Mr. Brown’s application would be considered, but that such an assessment was already being considered.
The recent announcement of a 17% cut in electricity rates would come into effect this summer, a measure the Liberals are comparing to refinancing a mortgage over a longer period of time.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has acknowledged that it will cost taxpayers more in the long term, but has argued that savings are needed as the population is going through a difficult period.
The additional interest costs associated with the proposed policy will be $ 25 billion over 30 years, Wynne said. The Progressive Conservatives, however, believe that the calculation behind this estimate is nebulous.
The $ 25 billion referred to by Premier Wynne is not included in the background documents released at the time of the announcement of a reduction in electricity service charges. However, they indicate that the plan will include “annual interest rates not exceeding $ 1.4 billion”.
Wynne said Monday that the Auditor General has already been made aware of this issue, adding that the government is ready to provide more technical information if necessary.
A Ministry of Energy spokesperson indicated that a “conservative” estimate based on a five per cent interest rate would result in an estimated $ 25 billion spread over a five-year period. 30 years.
In his letter to the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, Patrick Brown acknowledged that Ontarians could ultimately accept these additional costs in an effort to save money in the immediate future, given “the level of difficulty faces”. He submits, however, that the implications of such a measure must be clearly stated.
“To be honest, this government is used to deliberately using false figures to ignore their worst policy failures,” he said in his letter.
A spokesman for Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibault said Ontario has “responsible” debt management over the years. The province’s net debt exceeds $ 300B.
The rate cut of 17 per cent – following an eight per cent cut in January – means that taxpayers will pay about $ 2.5B less per year for the next 10 years, according to the government.