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Seeing red on your hydro bill? Liberals spend $12 million on advertising, consultants

October 26, 2016

(Queen’s Park) – Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece has had enough of Liberal waste and mismanagement on hydro. In today’s question period, he grilled energy minister Glenn Thibeault for wasting $12 million on consultants and advertising for the Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP).

“Will the minister explain to my constituents why this government is using their money to sell such a scam?” demanded Pettapiece.

The Ontario Electricity Support Program is a monthly credit applied to the hydro bills of low-income individuals and families. But the government designed the program to require them to apply.

The government claims the advertising is needed to inform people about the program. So far, however, only about a quarter of those believed to be eligible for the program have applied.

Pettapiece believes the program was set up for maximum political benefit: “The Liberals’ decision to waste $12 million on advertising and consultants was, as usual, all about making themselves look good,” he said after his question.

According to the Minister of Energy, the government has provided $21 million to support OESP recipients.

“That means that over half of what the Liberals have spent on the OESP so far has gone to consultants and advertising firms—not to those struggling to pay their bills,” Pettapiece pointed out.

The Minister of Energy said he was “proud” of the money the government has spent. He also accused opposition members of not informing people about the OESP, and said that the opposition liked to “just make up some numbers.”

Pettapiece says that’s absolutely false.

“Since the program began, I have had pamphlets and application forms for the OESP on the front counter of my constituency office. All the time, we get calls from people who can’t afford their hydro bills—we most certainly tell them about the program.”

Page 1-113 of the province’s professionally audited Public Accounts confirms that OESP expenses total $11.9 million—including over $9 million spent on consulting and almost $2.5 million spent on publications, media and advertising.

Yesterday the Ontario PC caucus introduced a motion demanding the government stop any further hydro rate increases. The NDP joined the governing Liberals in voting against the motion by a vote of 58 to 24.

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Video of Question: http://pettapiece.ca/?p=4090