High cost of electricity and council wants answers

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The ever increasing cost of electricity has got the attention of a few council members.

A resolution by Ward 2 Susan Myers and seconded by ward mate Sandra Hollingsworth is calling for the Mayor to a pen a letter to the Ontario Minister of Energy to explain and justify why Ontario is listed as the highest cost of electricity over every other Province.

City Council recognizes the high cost of electricity and it being a financial
burden to the  residents; and electricity bills for Sault Ste. Marie residents continue to increase annually at rates significantly above inflation rates; and for an average residential customer using 800 kWh per month the cost of electricity increased May 1, 2015 by approximately 7.5% and again on April 11, 2016.

The blame falls squarely on the Ontario Liberals and the Ontario Energy Board. The local utility  (PUC) collects the money but only contains 18 cents out of every dollar customers spend. The rest goes to the Ontario Energy Board.

Combined with the elimination of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB) rebate, the effect to Sault Ste. Marie consumers has been approximately 26% increase in the electricity portion of their bills over the last 12 months, an increase of 21.7% on their total bill, the reso;ition reads.

Many customers complain about the electricity rates skyrocketing in the last few years. The increase is especially hard for low income families and seniors to cope.  Many utility bills today resemble a rent or mortgage payment.
18% of the total electricity bill, the balance of which is money that is collected
by PUC and turned over to provincial or federal agencies (HST), the largest
component being the cost of electricity at approximately 60% of the total bill;

The cost of electricity in the province of Ontario is set by the Ontario
Energy Board; and the regulating body – Ontario Energy Board – typically increases the
cost of electricity on May 1 st and November 1 st each year; and
“Consumers in Sault Ste. Marie continue to be adversely impacted by
the ever-increasing financial burden of continuously increasing electricity costs” reads the resolution.

Myers and Hollingsworth want the Mayor’s office to write and get answers from the ministry,
expressing our strong objection to the unacceptable and ongoing increases of energy costs, and Further that City Council does call upon the Minister to demonstrate how deregulation of the electricity industry is benefiting electricity customers in Northern Ontario and when customers might see relief to these growing costs.

City council sits for their regular council meeting Monday at 4:30pm.

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Craig Huckerby is a seasoned broadcast and media professional with over 38 years in local media. Starting in television, Craig became known as "the weather guy" on local television before pioneering internet media in the Sault. Craig is credited for bringing local television back to the Sault via the internet in 2003 with LTVNEWS.COM and was instrumental in launching SooNews.ca and Local2.ca. Craig is happy to be part of the Sault's newest media team of ONNtv and SaultOnline.com

30 COMMENTS

  1. Moved into a house last july. Started off at 200/month running a/c and everything full bore. Then winter started and it went up to 4/month. Not too bad. Now the last 4 bills have been coming in at 8/month with being economical on power. What in the #### is going on with our system. Paying over 100 just for delivery??? We are getting severely gouged by electrical and fuel providers and it keeps getting worse. System is so corrupt that we are putting our own in the streets yet bringing in refugees and they get better standards of living than us, actual born citizens. Sickening. Wtg Canada.

  2. They’re voting to write a letter to ask about the pricing of power? If they get an answer at all, what will they do if it’s unsatisfactory? (If they’re already convinced power costs are high: they could take those actions now and skip the hollow, time-wasting letter writing campaign) . Good thing some consumers are taking things into their own hands and investing in renewables!

  3. Anyone thinking to switching over to gas to help with the heating cost be very careful. We are blessed to have three types of heat. A woodstove upstairs , an older type gas stove ( no blower as it would be useless if the power went out ) downstairs and electrical heat , which we don’t touch. During the winter months we just keep the gas stove on low to help with any dampness that may occur and our gas bill was always around 50+ a month and that included the hot water tank I use an oil filled heater to add the extra warmth I need.. In January I received my gas bill and it jumped to $ 198.00. I was told that January was always the coldest month and they didn’t even come read the meter, they just ” estimated” what they thought I’d use! Really ??!!! After a heated debate about me not seeing anyone from their company in my home seeing what I was doing during that month they lowered the price but only by some $ 60.00 or so. Still wasn’t right but nothing you can do with big companies. What bothers me is that the electric companies want people to do their laundry etc. before or after 7 a.m. or p.m. . What working Mom or stay at home Mom wants to do these things at these hours?… All “greed “to accommodate the big businesses!! Doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel except for a candle… I wonder if any Liberals do their laundry before 7 a.m…they probably take it to the cleaners, exactly where their taking us!…Rant over!

  4. The city councilers must have gotten their PUC bills and seen the big increase. Working people of Sault Ste Marie have been complaining about the cost for awhile now and mothing was done… just saying..

  5. while they,re at it-why are we in the sault paying more for our gasoline as compared to other cities (and not just 1 o r2 cents a litre) ??????

  6. Dawna Kinnunen April 10, 2016 at 3:54 pm
    The outrageous salaries at OPG need to be dealt with. The CEO earns
    $775,000 that can double with bonus pay to $1.55 million if performance targets are met. Compare this to the average salary of CEO’s of Power Generation in Canada earning $300,000 and OPG having an unusually high number on the sunshine list of over $100,000 it’s no wonder our electricity costs more than any other Province.
    https://www.ontario.ca/page/public-sector-salary-disclosure-2015-all-sectors-and-seconded-employees
    http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=President_and_CEO/Salary

  7. P.U.C. has me drowning in debt. I am taking from my table to pay these atrocious bills. In 3 months I have received 2 bills totalling $1200. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I have gas heat to so I just don’t understand.

  8. This all has to do with the Ontario Liberals energy policy. There have been numerous Auditor general reports on the mismanagement of the file over the years. The Billion dollar plus gas plant fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until oil goes up then you will feel yet liberal cash grab to pay for liberal corruption and incompetence in the form of a carbon tax. Everybody bend over and pass the lube.

    It’s nice to be so concerned with the environment that you are willing to sacrifice your economy to give the illusion of actually doing something. The liberals are determined to drive away any business from this province with their never-ending anti-business energy policies. I guess it’s easy to be righteous when you can just vote yourself a pay raise on the tax payer’s dime. We all can’t work for the government, so wake up idiots or soon you won’t have a tax base to draw your salaries and gold plated pensions from.

    Chinas rate of greenhouse gas emissions is growing so fast that if Canada were to stop all emissions, in a matter of months or less Chinas rate of increase in emissions would surpass the total emissions from our country.

    Keep voting liberal people. I know they all suck but after over a decade of corrupt incompetent liberal rule anyone has to be better.

  9. The outrageous salaries at OPG need to be dealt with. The CEO earns
    $775,000 that can double with bonus pay to $1.55 million if performance targets are met. Compare this to the average salary of CEO’s of Power Generation in Canada earning $300,000 and OPG having an unusually high number on the sunshine list of over $100,000 it’s no wonder our electricity costs more than any other Province.
    https://www.ontario.ca/page/public-sector-salary-disclosure-2015-all-sectors-and-seconded-employees
    http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=President_and_CEO/Salary

  10. My electricity bill was MUCH higher this year despite it being a warmer winter. Almost $500 for February! Way above the cost of inflation. I don’t know how lower income families cope with increases like that…the poor get poorer…

  11. Every single month PUC sends out cut off letters to hundreds of people who have to choose between power and food. People are seriously struggling paying outrageous amounts like 600-750 per month ! LIKE seriously there is people who are disabled or people who make minimum wage that can’t even afford to live anymore. And every single month people have to call and deal with the people who work there that are just rude to everyone who can’t catch up on their bills! I have heard there isn’t even help anymore for those who are struggling … like CAT …. now you only get help one time (rent bank) and from what I hear it’s not really help when you have to pay it back and still haven’t caught up on the bill and more high bills still coming and now another debt from getting help…. never ending circle….this is happening alot from what I’m hearing…. something needs to be done !!!

  12. don’t pay one months bill, don’t ever pay that one months bill and skip a month every year. You’ll be more in control of your expenses, they won’t cut you off, and periodically write off the amount. The liberals will remain in power until there is nothing left of ontario and the ministry of energy will continue to get their kick backs It’s all good.

  13. This is totally outrageous,,,my mortgage payment is less than my power bill,,,there is defiantly a problem,,,6/7 hundred amth electric bills,,,through one of our warmest winters,,,doesn’t add up,,,there’s a problem somewhere.

  14. We are a senior couple living in a 900 sq ft home,,,our bills have been,6/7 hundred a mouth,,this is out rageous,my goodness,where are they getting these numbers,this has been the mildest winter in a long time,,we pay 400 mortgage payments a month,and 6 to 7 hundred a month for electricity ,,,that’s plan crazy,,,what happened to grants to switch over to gas,we and everyone else can’t afford this,,I want answers to,,this is a big problem,,and will cause big problems for a lot of people,,,totally disgusting.

  15. It might be real good idea to put that letter in a resolution form , and send it out to all the Municipalities in the area, more voices tend to be louder.

  16. IT’S ABOUT TIME !!!! PEOPLE HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FOOD AND POWER!!! AND IT’S ALOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING…. GETTING THREATENED TO BE CUT OFF EVERY SINGLE MONTH AND TREATED LIKE CRAP FROM PUC WHEN YOUR BEHIND

  17. It’s about time. PUC has been killer and when you owe an outrageous bill, they want all the money in full with in a few days or your losing your power. They very rarely allow payment arrangements. Also when you call to discuss your bill with them, they are extremely rude to everyone.

  18. We pay through the nose for our power while they dump millions of megawatts to the U.S. as “excess” power for pennies on the dollar. Something seriously wrong with this picture.
    We should get the benefit of the excess power, not the other way around.
    Fuel costs for heating and warmth (not to mention fuel for our vehicles) is also totally ridiculous, with no effort from the local monopoly to try and make it more affordable, but just continue to keep the prices as high as possible and gouge us every day.

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