Patrick Brown said: “Having the highest hydro rates in North America has made us less competitive”
Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Ontario’s economy is growing and independent research shows Ontario has some of the most competitive industrial electricity prices in North America.
Since Premier Wynne took office, Ontario created 266,000 net new jobs and kept its unemployment rate below the national average for 19 straight months. We’ve posted higher real GDP growth in the first half of this year than the rest of Canada, the U.S. and almost all G7 countries while also continuing to lead the country in Foreign Direct Investment. (Source: Statistics Canada)
Patrick Brown said: the Global Adjustment is made up of “…the gas plants scandal and the surplus contracts”
Fact: The Global Adjustment covers the investments necessary to modernize Ontario’s electricity system. The reality is that without it, Ontario wouldn’t have the clean, reliable electricity system families and businesses will be able to rely on for years to come.
The Global Adjustment may be a positive or negative number, depending on whether the Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) is higher or lower than the fixed rates. It also varies from month to month, responding to changes in the HOEP compared to contract prices.
Patrick Brown said: “We’ve given away 6 billion dollars in surplus energy since 2009”
Fact: Considering the net benefit to Ontario ratepayers, it’s curious as to why Patrick Brown continues to rail against this practice. Even his Conservative colleagues know better. When the Member for Simcoe-Grey was Energy Minister in 2001, he called these exports “pure profit.” He even went further, noting that “if we can make money on surplus power in the United States, we’re damn well going to do that.”
The last time the provincial Conservatives were in power, they spent $900 million importing electricity over two years just to keep the lights on. When we came into office, we inherited their dirty, unreliable electricity system and cleaned it up. Now, thanks to those necessary investments, Ontario families and businesses know the lights will go on and stay on when they need them to. Given our position of strength, Ontario is also a net exporter now, benefitting ratepayers to the tune of $230 million last year (as estimated by the Independent Electricity System Operator).
Patrick Brown said: “I’m going to stop the sale of Hydro One which, right now we’re selling them at rock bottom prices and we lose future control over rate increases.”
Fact: The initial Hydro One IPO sold 9 million more shares than initially forecasted, traded $2 more per share, and raised $167 million more revenue for infrastructure investment than initially forecasted. So where is Brown getting his ‘rock bottom’ information from?
Ontario’s 2014 Budget clearly identified Hydro One as part of the plan to invest in infrastructure. We knew it would allow us to make those investments without raising taxes, increasing debt, or recklessly cutting public services. It’s now helping us invest in vital infrastructure projects like transit, roads, bridges, hospitals and schools.
Energy rates will continue to be set by the independent Ontario Energy Board, which has a mandate to protect ratepayers. His scheme will have no impact on rates.