Dear Premier Wynne,
I am writing you regarding Hydro One’s recent application to increase hydro bills by $141 per year for Ontario families. This hydro rate increase, which begins January 1, 2018, is extremely unfair and unaffordable. I am urging you to immediately reject this application, and all subsequent applications, until executive compensation is reined in at Hydro One and the government has stopped signing expensive, new, unneeded power contracts.
It was only a couple of months ago that you announced a brand new expensive hydro scheme and promised families there would be no more rate hikes. It was also just a few months ago we learned that Hydro One CEO’s compensation has jumped to $4.5 million a year. It’s bad enough that under your scheme hydro bills will soar after the next election, but now it appears you will rubberstamp this massive, new rate hike to pay for even more raises and bonuses for fat-cat hydro executives, while your government continues to sign even more energy contracts.
Which is why today, I am asking you to do three things:
1. Stop these unaffordable rate hikes: I am asking you to have your Minister of Energy issue a directive to the Ontario Energy Board to reject this application for a rate increase. Hard-working Ontario families should not be forced to pay even higher electricity rates as a result of your government’s short-sighted policies. As you’re no doubt aware, the precedent exists for this sort of decision. A 2015 Supreme Court ruling upheld an Ontario Energy Board ruling denying a rate application from Ontario Power Generation to pass on increases in compensation to ratepayers.
2. Rein in executive compensation that has skyrocketed electricity bills: I am asking your government to immediately rein in executive compensation. Since your government decided to sell off Hydro One in a fire sale, executive compensation packages have risen to unbelievable new levels. Today, the CEO of Hydro One is earning well-over $4.5 million
a year, and by comparison the hydro CEOs in both Quebec and British Columbia are earning one tenth the amount. In February, 2017, we first urged your government to rein in executive salaries but this plea has gone unanswered.
3. Stop signing even more unneeded power contracts: While the Auditor General has confirmed that your government massively overpaid for green energy contracts, many of which went to Liberal donors, you continue to push forward with the signing of even more. In fact, on the day after you announced your hydro scheme, you allowed an additional round of FIT contracts to pass an important stage in the procurement process. If your government continues to sign these contracts, this Hydro One rate hike will only be the tip of the iceberg.
If you agree that Ontario families are in need of relief, as you have been suggesting since the Scarborough-Rouge River by-election in September 2016, there should be no hesitation on your part.
I look forward to seeing a swift and immediate response from your government. Ontarians can’t afford this rate hike.
Patrick Brown Leader of the Official Opposition MPP – Simcoe North