The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC), has joined a province-wide coalition of 36 Ontario Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade calling on the Government of Ontario to provide factual evidence that electricity prices will not increase as a result of the government’s decision to sell off 60 percent of Hydro One.
“Rising electricity prices are a collective concern and have put Ontario businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” says Monica Dale, President of the SSMCOC. “It is important to recognize that electricity represents a significant cost to employers. As the government moves forward with the sale of Hydro One, it is essential that it works to ensure that business operation in Ontario remains affordable by containing electricity costs.”
In a recent report by the OCC, Empowering Ontario, Ontario’s chambers of commerce called for increased transparency around electricity and system cost drivers from the provincial government. The partial sale of Hydro One should be subject to a similar level of scrutiny.
In the short time since the release of the 2013 Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), industrial electricity rates have increased by 16 percent, and will increase a further 13 percent over the next five years. According to a survey conducted by the OCC, one in twenty businesses will either shut their doors or move to another jurisdiction in the coming years due to these rising rates. The Government of Ontario needs to make certain that the cumulative burden on business operation in Ontario does not increase due to the partial sale of Hydro One.
“The Ontario Chamber Network is concerned that the sale of Hydro One could adversely affect the cost of doing business in the province by adding to the rising price of electricity,” says Dale. “As such, we are seeking detailed clarification from the government on how the sale will impact electricity prices.”
Dale notes that this is an issue that is vitally important to the Sault Ste. Marie economy and to many Chamber member businesses. She points out that “several of our key industries are manufacturers, where electricity accounts for a huge portion of the production process and as such, represents proportionately large expense. These businesses are economic drivers for the Sault; they employ large numbers of workers and provide business and employment opportunities for many more local tertiary businesses.”
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC), has joined a province-wide coalition of 33 Ontario Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade calling on the Government of Ontario to provide factual evidence that electricity prices will not increase as a result of the government’s decision to sell off 60 percent of Hydro One.