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“How do you even begin to justify something so stupid?”

November 24, 2016

(Queen’s Park) – Mike Carter, owner of Milverton Foodtown, did all the right things. He installed energy-efficient lighting, and purchased new, efficient freezers and refrigerators. But Carter’s hydro bills are now up 30 percent and his delivery charge more than doubled.

The independent grocery store owner has a straightforward question: “How do you even begin to justify something so stupid?”

Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece voiced that question today in the Ontario legislature.

Pettapiece asked: “Having done all the right things—having invested tens of thousands of dollars to become more efficient—does the Premier agree that Mike should expect a lower hydro bill?”

With her energy minister not in the legislature while facing bribery allegations, Premier Kathleen Wynne ducked the question and referred it to Brad Duguid, the minister of Economic Development and Growth. The question went unanswered.

In an email signed by “Jessica” at Hydro One, the utility offered the following explanation for Carter’s higher hydro bills:

“On an annual basis, a review of consumption is conducted in order to ensure that accounts are billing with the correct service type.” It went on to explain that because Carter now averages less than 50 kilowatts per month, the utility switched his business from its “General Service Demand” to “General Service Energy” billing category.

Hydro One actually subsidized Carter’s switch to energy-efficient lighting through its Small Business Lighting Program – only to raise his rates.

Pettapiece shares Carter’s frustration, saying his experience is another example of the Liberal government’s “totally inept” hydro policy.

“Instead of admitting the problem, the minister’s response was more Liberal spin,” Pettapiece said. “It was arrogant, out-of-touch, and completely dismissed my constituent’s concerns.”

Last Saturday, the Premier admitted the Liberal government had “made a mistake” by allowing electricity rates to soar. She made the remarks at the Liberal Party’s annual meeting in Toronto.

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Video of question: http://pettapiece.ca/?p=4121