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Too little, too late

cartoon_nov232016Speaking in front of a crowd of her Liberal colleagues, Premier Kathleen Wynne recently made a startling confession: the high hydro prices in this province are the fault of her and her government.

And this confession was only startling in the fact that it was being made.

Large numbers of people, from everyday residents to politicians to political commentators and everything in between, have been saying for months and years that hydro prices in the province are far too high. And the numbers are there to prove it.

In May 2006, the price for on peak rates was 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Those looking to save some money could use power during off peak hours at 3.5 cents.

Fast forward a decade later, and those rates have gone up to 18 cents and 8.7 cents respectively. That means that off peak hours have more than doubled in the past 10 years, with on peak going up nearly 80 per cent.

If the price of power had gone up by the rate of inflation, like many other things in our country, Ontario residents would be paying approximately 12 cents for on peak hours and about a nickel for off peak, according to the Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator, which is based on the Consumer Price Index.

When something goes up by that much, it’s evident that something is not right. And for far too long, Wynne has been at the helm of the ship that steered taxpayers into these waters. And to boot, she either missed or blatantly ignored the warning buoys along the way leading to those stormy waters. The uproar about hydro being sold off and many saying this would lead to price increases – ignored. Pleas have gone unanswered from constituents and the MPPs that represented them – including Oshawa’s own Jennifer French, who delivered a stack of hydro bills to the premier last month. People are saying they are having to choose between heating their homes or stocking their fridges.

So it is good to see that Wynne is finally taking some responsibility and admitting that mistakes have been made. However, whiles words are nice, people want to see action – action to bring rates down, action to make hydro bills more affordable.

If something isn’t done to alleviate the pressure on taxpayers’ pocketbooks, the 2018 provincial election could see the Liberals’ run at the top of Queen’s Park come to an end. But one can only hope.