Letter to the Editor by Jason Setnyk – Not Liking Ontario Hydro Rates and Policy – Cornwall Ontario – November 3, 2010

Cornwall ON – Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians made it clear that they can not afford the unfair imposition of HST on their hydro bills, including many working families right here in Cornwall Ontario and in the riding of Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry. I hoped that Jim Brownell and Dalton McGunity would be listening, but once again, the voices of many Ontarians fell on death ears. On Tuesday every McGuinty Liberal MPP voted to defeat an opposition motion that called for the HST to be immediately removed from Ontario hydro bills. Sadly, the news gets worse for working families.

According to the Toronto Sun, winter time-of-use rates have kicked in making our hydro bills even higher. TOU or Time of Use Pricing was suppose to save Ontario family moneys – but instead families who can not afford new energy efficient appliances or can’t afford to replace windows and furnaces will likely pay more for power this winter.


The Ontario Power Authority does not offer much helpful winter advice to consumers to save energy, but maybe the McGunity government has some helpful suggestions to stay warm, like wearing a second sweater around the house. Between November 1st till April 30th, time-of-use customers pay the highest price for electricity purchased between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. The most power is used by industries during the day, but the highest prices of electricity will directly impact and hurt the wallets of families instead – making day to day life less affordable for us all.

At a time when electricity is becoming more and more expensive for everyone, I must beg the question, why are publicly owned electrical utility companies donating to the governing Liberal party here in Ontario? According to a news report from the Toronto Star, “Elections Ontario documents show local utilities, including Essex Power and Oakville Hydro, have donated thousands of dollars to the Ontario Liberal Party in the past few years…


Other public utilities donating to the Liberals included Thunder Bay Hydro, Greater Sudbury Hydro Plus, St. Catharines Power Generation and Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro.”. Why are these public utilities giving the Ontario Liberals money? Perhaps they know who is buttering their bread?   Regardless, it is unfair! Public hydro companies should be generating power to help consumers, and profits should be re-invested in infrastructure and green energy and helping make Ontario homes more energy efficient.


Profits from public utilities should not be helping keep the Ontario Liberals in power. Luckily Ontarians still have complete ownership over one kind of power – the power of the ballot! Dalton McGuinty’s MPPs all voted in favour of keeping our hydro bills sky-high, so during the next provincial election we can send a clear message to Queens Park that we want change, and that we cannot afford four more years of McGuinty government. Remember, you have the power!

Work Cited:

Ontario’s power doofuses:

Why are public utilities donating to Liberals:

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)



  1. Does Cornwall Electric follow the same time-of-use guidelines as Ontario Power Generation?

  2. Great article Jason, obviously the Ontario Fiberals feel entitled to their entitlements and will gouge us into the poorhouse with hydro prices/taxes. Would this same thing happen in the US? Never! They wouldn’t allow it. They would have been dumped mid-term! Don’t forget that it was the people of Ontario that voted in the Fiberals (and yes, at the time we already knew they fibbed like mad) and so what goes around, comes around, and now we have to live with it.

  3. OPG recently invested 28 million dollars on a manufacturing update only to now invest an additional 5 million in removing what was built and never even comissining the update, I think we can see where they efficiently invest their earnings

  4. I second Stan Great article Jason. Ive read a few more similar in the financial post. Its a shame so few people are aware of just how bad things are. We in Cornwall I am told are not part of OPG , I guess that cant be bad I dont know. Is there a resource anywhere we can go to in order to compare electricity costs from utility to utility? What about this microfit scheme? Im reading that it has been carefully crafted to profit certain business interests within the province and may actually contravine international trade laws? Also, who is really paying for it? OPG ratepayers or everyone and howmuch? Why is there no government policy in place that insures all utilities within the province support and I stress a”reasonable” feed in tariff system for clean energy? So many questions, so few answers? what are the opposition parties positions, do they even have one? I was shocked to hear a public utility can have anything to do with politics let alone lobby political parties with our money for theyre own self interest.

  5. I think calling these Electric companies “Public Utilities” is a little of a misnomer. It was Mike Harris and his Tories that sold off the public utilities which were once owned by the people of Ontario. Most are now private corporations owned by the Cities they serve and the people in them. Some are part owned by private investors.
    If you investigate into how the money was spent, it wasn’t straight donations but for tickets to attend fundraiser dinners to make contacts and network.
    If the Tories were in power right now it would be donations to the Tories we would be reading about. As it is the NDP who brought the question up, and they too have received money from said Power Companies. That’s what lobbying is all about.
    Sharon you are pretty vague on the 28 million OPG waste could you elaborate, because without details you statement sounds like hyperbole.
    When California deregulated its electricity market, prices went through the roof; underhanded practices of shutting down generating units (all privately owned) and self creating shortages send spot market prices through the roof. Generating companies found they could make more money by not running all of their generating units then if they flooded the market (the old supply and demand). Californians couldn’t afford some of the $1000-$3000 monthly hydro bills, shortages, kickbacks and rolling black and brownouts ensued until the State stepped back into the picture and after many firings and huge fines for market price fixing, they brought the whole thing into some kind of regulated control, I am still not sure they have it all straightened out.
    Don’t forget Stan this is the model that Harris and his Tories put in place not taking note or warning from what was happening south of the border.
    The Tories then split our public utility into three companies hoping to sell off the assets and stick the stranded debt to us the rate payers. It was the timing of Ipperwash, a public campaign by the PWU that stopped it and then an election and the Liberals came in put a stop to the open market. But they didn’t fix it as we still have this jumbled regulated market that no one can understand.
    The biggest problem is the Ontario Government (no matter who is in charge Tories,NDP or Libs) and 98% of Ontario tax payers have absolutely no idea how the electricity market in Ontario works.
    Cornwall Electric buys power from Quebec Hydro and so will follow whatever regulation set forth by QH. One more point though is that OPG is just a Generating company owned by the people of Ontario, they make no policies about time of use and do not control rates.
    All that OPG does is Generate Electricity nothing more.

  6. Hi Willie,

    Cornwall Electric does not charge by time of use, as is the case for most of Ontario. I don’t remember the exact figures offhand (but they are on their website), but basically they charge so much for the first set number of KWh in a month, and anything over and above that, at a slightly lower rate.

    If you go to some of my earliest articles in “Komorowski’s Korner” you’ll find a discussion of this, and a comparison of Cornwall’s rates to Hydro One’s. (Be happy you live in Cornwall).


    The biggest problem, in my opinion, with the Ontario rates is not the HST (because if you’ve a low income, you get the GST cheques etc.) but with the actual time of use rates themselves. Briefly, there is not enough of a differential between the high rate and the low rate to make it worthwhile to invest in storage heaters etc., which are very widely used in England and Europe. These heaters are very efficient, and are designed to use low rate electricity, and give out their heat during the day, during high peak times. The province won’t subsidise them (as they will energy efficient central air conditioning etc.), so if you install them, the payback period is excessively long. The only utility I know that will help people install these heaters is Sudbury Hydro. http://cornwallfreenews.com/2010/06/komorowskis-korner-sudbury-electric-makes-electric-storage-heaters-make-sense-cornwall-june-16-2010/

  7. Thank you for the information folks.

  8. I think we are Fortis or something similiar and we get our power from Quebec hydro. Quebec being one of the more green provinces with respect to hydro too

  9. You can whine all you want about Mike Harris just remember that its been eight years now that he’s gone! Whats happening today with the Hydro is today and not eight years ago. Why didn’t the Fiberals fix it? No, no way! All they want is money from us so lets lay the blame where it belongs: at the feet of the Liberal Party of Ontario otherwise known as the Fiberals and Mr.McGuinty himself otherwise known as McFibber.

  10. Author

    Well Stan I’m thinking the Liberal Government has been taking quite a few steps to fix that from focusing on shutting down coal generated plants to looking to the future and planting the seeds for Solar and other alternative power sources in the future.

  11. Stan, in your post you said, “obviously the Ontario Fiberals feel entitled to their entitlements and will gouge us into the poorhouse with hydro prices/taxes.”
    Stan, I am having trouble hearing you over the high pitched whine you are emitting.
    I just pointed out the history of where this started, but if you read my post instead of just scanning it you would have read that I also stated the Liberals haven’t fixed it and I will be the first to stand up and say they have made it worse in the respect that they have tied the hands of the generating company OPG that we the people of Ontario own..
    But I am the one in the sand box whining??
    Have you written your displeasure to your MPP? Have you been to the MOE website and filled out the survey? The Ontario government is looking for input from its citizens on the direction and shape the Provincial energy plan should take?
    No, haven’t done any of that? Well maybe you should stop the whining and do something about it, I have!!!!!
    You are either part of the solution or part of the whiners, er I mean problem.

  12. I’m afraid you may be wrong about Hydro Quebec. Hydro power is actually not green at as green as once thought. Massive dam projects like HQ builds in the north, flood millions of hectares of forested land. Studies are coming now that estimate that the decomposition of this vegetation produces more methane & GHG over decades than if we made that same power by burning fossil fuels.
    Not to mention that Quebec is the only province in Canada to not participate in the federally mandated FIT programs.. Which requires all electric utilities to buy back power from homeowners who choose to produce their own. You may think Cornwall is paying less for electricity for now… there are folks in places as close as st-andrews earning $500+/mth because of the FIT programs that we will never have. Hydro quebec contracts demand NO FIT where they sell power. People all over Canada are basing retirements on this fact with ROIs up in the 14-20% range… No wall street fund will ever get you that.
    So instead of complaining about the hydro rate,,, demand FIT in Cornwall, then all the provincial/federal grants and funding will become available to all homeowners. then who cares what the electric company wants from you.. and the planet will love you for your efforts.

  13. bobgeneric, I guess I’m part of the solution because I have written my displeasure to our local MPP. I have taken the Ontario survey too… so the “whining” you hear may be an echo.

  14. I think the reason utility companies are donating to the government has a lot to do with what is paid back to people supplying the grid.

  15. Rony has a point when it comes to hydro being green it isnt the damage done to the environment is just well hidden not to mention 40 percent efficiency loss just transmitting the power from station end user. However we need power one way or the other so I wont bash Hydro. I still stand by the fact that regardless of who Enbridge gets theyre power from that they resell to us there is nothing preventing Enbridge from participating in the FIT program they would simply be buying power from the the people who produce it from Solar and Wind rather than Hydro Quebec. I think HQ is simply being used as a scape goat here and we’re all being givin this story about not being able to feed into they’re grid. We wouldnt be because the amount of power generated locally would hardly put a dent into the overall town consumption and even if it did they cannot dictate that they must be sole provider I really doubt theyd throw the switch if they were told were adopting a fit. If local government cared at all it could all be very easily facilitated and Cornwall could be at the forefront with others and benefit form new business opportunities in this area. Also having a clean energy or “Green” reputation sends all the right signals to the growing number of people who pay attention to these things when considering where they may want to live an invest. . I again stress as a conservative I dont believe the microfit program is sustainable in its present form but “FIT” programs properly implemented are becoming commonplace and are the way foreward as a compliment to other sustainable energy solutions.

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