How to slash your hydro bills in Mike Harris's Ontario

Thomas Adams
Energy Probe
If you’re a multinational, take heart: Mike Harris’s Hydro can cut a sweetheart deal for you. Suncor, Nova Chemicals, and Polysar are just some of the beneficiaries of the Hydro monopoly’s boast of being "responsive" to its customers. Who will pay for these breaks for big business? Why, the little guys ­ residential and small business consumers.

If you’re a residential customer, there’s only one way to lower your Hydro bills ­ leave. Manitoba to the west charges residential customers about a third less than Ontario. So does Quebec to the east, and many, many U.S. jurisdictions to the south. Thanks to decades of mismanagement, in fact, Ontarians now pay among the highest power rates on the continent.

Big business has more good news coming, too. Soon the Ontario system could be opened up to real competition, and they’ll be able to buy power at the real, uninflated rate. But residential customers are out of luck: Farlinger, Ontario Hydro’s new chairman, wants to direct the windfall that will come from competition to big business, and away from you, until the year 2010!

This may sound like "common sense" to Mike Harris, but to most Ontarians ­ including those who elected the new government expecting Harris to put an end to the Hydro monopoly ­ it makes no sense at all. And there’s no reason we should take it.

Ten years ago, when the natural gas system was deregulated, Energy Probe fought for the right of residential customers to benefit from competition in the natural gas business. We won that battle to the benefit of small gas consumers ­ rates have dropped 25% after inflation ­ and now we must fight and win the battle to give small power customers full rights to an open electricity marketplace.

Please join the battle with a tax-deductible, charitable donation. Reform of Hydro is now imminent, and we must ensure that the changes work to the benefit of all Ontarians, and not just a privileged few.

Thomas Adams
Director, Utility Reform

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