TORONTO – Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to cut hydro bills by 25% comes with an electrifying price tag for the government – anywhere between $63 billion to $93 billion if financed with borrowed money, a review by the province’s Financial Accountability Office concludes.
In the best-case scenario, which requires the Ontario government to balance its budget every year for the next three decades, the plan costs $45 billion.
Once the break on bills is factored in, Ontarians will pay $21 billion more than they would have had they not received the upfront hydro bill reduction.
“The Financial Accountability Office estimates that the (Fair Hydro Plan) will cost the province approximately $45 billion over 29 years while providing overall savings to electricity ratepayers of $24 billion,” the report released Wednesday says. “The projected cost of the FHP of $45 billion over 29 years assumes that the province does not borrow funds to finance the FHP.”
Wynne’s government announced the bold hydro plan after bills soared, leaving many ratepayers complaining that the cost was so high that it was getting difficult to meet their other needs like food and housing.
Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown said in a news release, “Kathleen Wynne’s unfair hydro plan is a sham. The government’s own numbers confirm it and independent experts confirm it. Rates are going up – period,” he said . “It’s time for Kathleen Wynne to stop covering up the truth – under her plan, our hydro bills will go up. Everything will cost more. This will have a devastating impact on household budgets and the economy.”
“This is shocking. The Liberals have known all along that hydro bills will increase next year, then by a whopping 12% year over year starting in 2028,” said PC Energy Critic Todd Smith. “To make matters worse, the Liberals are bringing back the debt retirement charge which will cost Ontarians four times more.”