Why are hydro bills so high in Ontario? Study says hydro bills up 5%
A new study by the Fraser Institute has revealed that the cost of electricity for Ontario consumers has continued to rise, in spite of government plans to start lowering rates this year.According to the study, cited in the Toronto Sun, between April 2018 and April 2019 electricity prices in Toronto went up 5 per cent annually for residential customers, who are paying 22 per cent more for electricity than the Canadian average.
Furthermore, on November 1, 2019, the Ontario Energy Board approved an additional 1.8 per cent annual hike in residential electricity,which increased the average electricity cost for residential consumers by an additional $24 annually.
The study also found that between April 2018 and April 2019, small businesses in Toronto experienced an average hydro rate increase of 6 per cent per annum. Electricity rates also went up for medium-sized and large energy consumers, with large businesses and industries having to pay 65 per cent higher electricity rates than the rest of Canada. Electricity costs for medium-sized businesses in Toronto increased by 15 per cent and increased by 10 per cent for large power consumers.
Medium-sized businesses in Ottawa were found to be paying 12 per cent more yearly, while large power consumers paid 7 per cent more.Consumers have constantly tried to find ways to get around these high hydro costs. Many are now taking practical steps to save energy, such as the installation of under-floor heating rather than using everyday heaters with radiators, which are known for wasting energy. Underfloor heating seems to be the seamless solution to saving energy; it is widely considered a more resourceful heating system thanks to its lower temperature and cheaper running costs.
CBC News once explored reasons why hydro bills in Ontario are so high. They came up with the following reasons.
Ontario's electricity producers are currently generating more power than the province consumes; however, the government has to keep purchasing this excess power because they are already bound by a contract. The option to opt out of the contract, though easy, would be expensive and for this reason, the government remains in the contract while individuals and businesses pay for electricity that they do not use.
Weakened energy watchdogs are also another reason why hydro costs are up. The independent body that regulates electricity pricing in the province is the Ontario Energy Board. However, this board does not regulate all electricity pricing and has limited influence over the price paid to electricity generators. CBC also blamed the rising hydro costs on the fat salaries of hydro workers. According to the report, the earnings of employees at Ontario Power Generation total $1.07 billion.
Ways to save energy at home include buying energy-friendly devices for the home, using refrigerators and dishwashers in a way that saves costs, limited use of air conditioners, switching to LED light bulbs, and energy-friendly heating systems, among others.
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