‘It was my mistake,’ Wynne says of high electricity bills

Kathleen Wynne says it is unacceptable that Ontarians might have to choose between paying for rent or paying for electricity


OTTAWA – Premier Kathleen Wynne is calling high electricity prices her “mistake,” sounding a note of contrition on one of the major issues threatening the Liberals’ re-election bid in 2018.

Amid the usual rallying of the troops at the Ontario Liberals’ annual general meeting Saturday, Wynne addressed her poor popularity numbers, which she called the “elephant in the room.”

“I think that people look at me and many of them think, ‘She’s not who we thought she was. She’s become a typical politician. She’ll do anything to win,”’ Wynne said.

“Frankly, I may have and I think I sometimes have given them reason to think that.”

Wynne said part of convincing Ontarians that she wants to do what is in their best interests is admitting when she has made a mistake.

“People have told me that they’ve had to choose between paying the electricity bill and buying food or paying rent,” Wynne said.

“That is unacceptable to me. It is unacceptable that people in Ontario are facing that choice. Our government made a mistake. It was my mistake.”

An eight-per-cent rebate on electricity bills comes into effect Jan. 1, but Wynne said she will find more ways to lower rates and reduce the burden on consumers.

Related: How Kathleen Wynne has Ontario going backwards

After her speech, Wynne wouldn’t point to any specific decision on the electricity file that she deems a mistake, but said her focus was on the big issues facing the system and she hasn’t always paid enough attention to how costs were accumulating on people’s bills.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk has said the electricity portion of hydro bills for homes and small businesses rose 70 per cent between 2006 and 2014.

The Progressive Conservatives say electricity rates were driven up much higher than necessary by the Liberals’ overly-generous, long-term contracts for wind and solar power.

The Liberals say rates increased because Ontario stopped burning coal to generate electricity and invested heavily in transmission grid upgrades after years of neglect.

Wynne said in her speech she wasn’t going to talk about the June 2018 election – though she did promise to visit every single riding between now and then.

More: The hard truths behind Ontario’s pricey electrical system

But the vote that’s about 18 months away was top of mind at the convention, which kicked off with a session – closed to media – from campaign chair David Herle titled “The Path to 2018.”

There was a palpable sense of relief from Liberals that they hung onto their Ottawa-Vanier seat in Thursday’s byelection. The Progressive Conservatives won the other byelection as expected in Niagara West-Glanbrook, but if the Liberals had lost the Ottawa stronghold it could have spelled trouble for their general election prospects.

On electricity bills, Wynne is taking a lesson learned from the Democrats in the U.S. election, saying she takes responsibility as leader “for not paying close enough attention to some of the daily stresses in Ontarians’ lives.”

“The conversation since the American election has very much been about people being left behind, and so when I talk about that, yeah, I’m making a connection there,” she explained after her speech.

“It’s not exactly the same from my perspective because we’ve been working for many years to build an inclusive economy, to make sure people aren’t left behind. But I think that what happened in the United States is a reminder that that is at the core of what government has to do – make sure people aren’t left behind.”


‘It was my mistake,’ Wynne says of high electricity bills

  1. The elephant in the room is so-called “Green Energy”. Putting enormous wind turbines and solar arrays in farmers’ fields is not going to fix climate change.

    Wind and Solar are not reducing C02 and none of the political parties will admit this costly failure. Ontario’s professional Engineers, those tasked with generation, transmission and billing, have reported the problem. Ontario continues to build more wind and solar.

    Reference: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”. Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). April 2015.
    (Archived at: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ospe.on.ca/resource/resmgr/DOC_advocacy/2015_Presentation_Elec_Dilem.pdf)

    Page 15 of 23. “Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants ?”

    – Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.

    – Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.

    – Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.

    – Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.

    – When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear generation to make room for more natural gas generation to provide flexible backup.

    – Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh.

    – Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO2 emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO2 emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO2 emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).

    – In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO2 emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.

    • What is your opinion on geo-thermal?

  2. Oh, all of a sudden she made a mistake. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that there will be an election and the Liberals won’t get in next time. Too much over taxing, over spending and lying. Does she think that admitting to not listening will make everyone love her? I hope Canadaian are not that dumb. Too much damage done.

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  3. Wynne’s Bay Street friends get long term guaranteed windfall profits for their so-called green electricity projects….private infrastructure investment with guaranteed rentier streams that Trudeau and Butts and Morneau are taking national with their privatization bank.

    While ordinary Ontarians pay sky high users fees/electricity rates to pay those rentier streams and to rebuild the electricity grid for the benefit of those Bay Street friends of Wynne.

  4. Sorry folks, but hokum is still hokum

    The oil age is over……and Kid Con won’t change it.

  5. two words resign resign

    • For Patrick Brown and his SoCons?

      Not a chance

      • Wynne has as almost as much corrupt baggage as Hillary. And this is just one of many things she should call a “mistake”-such a cop out term for a full fledged disaster!! What has she got to show for her out of control spending? Nothing except for massive debt. She hasn’t hit the lowest approval rating of all time just for this “mistake”!!

  6. Remember when in the Drummond report Mr. Drummond predicted hydro would increase by 46% over the next 5 years – Chapter 3 “Our Mandate and our Approach”? He suggested that “the Province should seek efficiencies in the sector that would help slow electricity rate increases”.

    Remember how the Liberal’s laughed and scoffed at the Drummond Report? I guess they knew how far Drummond’s numbers were off? Hysterical!

    Those were the good old days. Average Ontario rate increase has actually been 67% with some areas like Toronto increasing by 77%.

    • We just bought Quebec hydro. Keep up.

      • Heaven knows we need more electricity.

        The Province of Ontario is in the black when it comes to supplying electricity. In fact, we dump it on the open market of which much of it gets cheerily bought by our Southern neighbours for far less than it costs our Province to generate, store and move the stuff.

        • Nol

          • Are you saying you don’t understand?

            The Toronto Star has a number of lovely articles. The same Toronto Star that took out full page ads endorsing McGuinty and than Wynne.

            Did you see the one where the Star told us that the people of Ontario paid $1 billion in 2013 to dump our excess electricity to 3 States and 2 Provinces? We generated it for 8.55 cents/kWh but sold it for 2.65 cents/kWh. That worked out to $220/household.

            The Consumer Policy Institute just released a study last month in which Ontario’s surplus electricity has cost us $6.3 billion over the last decade. With 92% of that cost falling into the last 7 years.

            I’m just quoting surplus electricity. Of course there are numerous other costs we could talk about that are related to electricity? Want to talk about the Global Adjustment Cost? Or how about the export subsidy?

          • Your premier is admitting she screwed up and you are arguing with her that she didn’t. Meanwhile, people are paying $800.00 per month for electricity and you claim you are a Lib.

      • No we didn’t. We struck a deal with them to provide us a certain amount of low-cost electricity.

  7. While I too, am appalled by the obscenely outrageous cost of electric power in Ontario, I would not be too averse to funding some scarce tax-payer money for a heavy wooden chair onto which Kathlleen Wynne could be strapped prior to giving her a surge of several million expensive Ontario volts of electricity to make her sit up sharply and personally finally take notice of how she is destroying this Province.

    • Crikey…..you talk to Jesus with that mouth??

      • Wynne needs to be jolted in order to realize how badly she’s screwing Ontarians.
        Perhaps a shock will induce an electrifying change in her complacent attitude to mismanagement of Ontario, the former energetic breadbasket of Canada.

        • Perhaps you could sober up.

    • There are many who would love to see her punished for the damage she has done to the future of our children.

      • As compared to who? Mike Harris? Bill Davis? Frost? Robarts?

        How are you going to get anyone to serve in govt if you’re trying to punish them all the time?

        Are you looking for saints who never make a mistake?

        • Yeah that recent settlement between the Province and those who received the tainted cancer drugs when compared to Harris and the Walkerton scandal makes Harris look almost human.

          Cancer drug scandal (1000+ sickened, 300+ have died).
          Walkerton scandal(1000+ sickened, 7 died).

          Try to keep up with the news.

          • Cons always go over the top

            Lots of mistakes have been made over the years….by every premier and all parties. Hysteria is not a solution

        • Are you saying you admit she made a mistake? Wow….we have a break through.

  8. She’s insane if she thinks that finally admitting she’s been gouging Ontario is going to win her any elections.

    So what’s the deal now… her pay cheque is bloated enough that she can finally consider lowering hydro rates? She and her ilk already got their big payday so now they can adjust right before the election. You’re gone, Wynne. If you get voted in again I will make it my life’s goal to ensure you’re imprisoned. You’re not welcome in Ontario anymore.


    • Oh do stop being an ass

      What are you?…..10?

      • You are on the losing side of this one kid.

        • What? Over hydro bills?

          Be serious.

          • Over generally poor handling of our finances – Hydro being a prime example.

            I tend to vote Liberal, but not next election. A change in government is needed now and again – and we’re overdue.

          • That’s exactly the reason for Wynne’s belated mea culpa.
            Now she takes the blame for the fiasco. Next she will announce that she will resignas Party Leader, and not lead the Party into the next election.
            Suddenly the rest of the Liberals are guiltless and they can plan for their next election victory with a clear collective conscience.

  9. A “mistake” that has been pointed out to her many times and ignored can not be considered a mistake, it is blatant disregard for the people she is supposed to be REPRESENTING not dictating to. I think it is time for all of our politicians to realize that they work for us, the voters.

    It appears that now she is starting her campaign a bit early, but I don’t think that the voters will buy into her crap again. If she had any honour at all she would immediately resign and not run in the next election.

    When the campaigning really starts folks, ask the hard questions, and make sure that those who are seeking your vote are actually willing to fight for those they represent.

  10. If you have some free time on your hands, why not make some extra cash every week? Follow this link for more information

  11. If she finally no she made a huge mistake what is she going to do now.In 2014 my hydro was extremely high.Ms Wynn are you going to reimburse our money back.

  12. Of course it is/was Wynn’s fault just as pushing the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hoax which is costing us billions, is the fault of sleazy politicians. With not so much as a single study “proving” that man’s production of carbon dioxide is in any way leading to the claimed catastrophic climate change, this failed socialist idea pushes on. People like Wynn and her cohorts at the federal level, if left unchallenged, will finally succeed in ruining not only Ontario, but our entire country.

    • Another poster drinking I see

  13. If you have some free time on your hands, why not make some extra cash every week

  14. You know what, Wynne knows her job is save in 2018. The aholes in Toronto and Ottawa will keep her in power. The Vanier by-election win was due to the 1000s of welfare cases(the largest in the province) showing up to protect their legacy.

  15. Wow its about time Kathleen Wynn, this has been an issue for a long time now. The fact that you are just addressing this now is also a mistake, why don’t we talk about how we are the only province paying tax on electricity. Or how about we also mention how we sell off the majority of our hydro to the USA at a small, small fraction of the price we pay. Or that the reason we are paying such high rates is to line your pockets with the contracts you have signed with Samsung to litter Ontario with these large wine turbines that you are going to profit from when you decide to sell hydro off and let other companies come into Canada and privatize this. Why are we making such large expensive strives towards being “green” when China is still using coal, and India is still littering their waters with garbage and industrial waste? Ontarians cannot afford this – NEWS FLASH – you have made us broke and you will soon bankrupt more people in this province than ever before because we can’t afford to keep the lights on. WTF congratulations you won’t get my vote you are a horrible leader.

  16. Mistake my ass, they knew what they were doing. I can’t blame the Ontario Liberals for feeling like they can get away with anything, they’ve been so sleazy and corrupt for years and every election the idiots keep voting them back in. Most likely it will happen again, crazy as that sounds.

  17. One of the problems with the wind and solar fiasco is its pricing structure. Some (not all) of the providers are paid $0.80 per kwhr of electricity produced while the utility (Hydro One) then sells it for $0.16 per kwhr. Without this subsidy, they would never have been built because it would not be economical to set one up if the owners got $0.16/kwhr.
    This has to be about the dumbest government policy ever enacted. I doubt if a benefit cost analysis was ever done to determine if this program had economic merit. It represents what economist call a misallocation of scarce resources and it’s not insignificant.

  18. I cannot take claim for these electricity calculations. Really an eye-opener.

    Hydro one
    Energy Charge: 18¢/kWhx200 peak $36, 13.2¢/kWhx200 mid $26.4, 8.7¢/kWhx600 low $52.20
    Line loss charge +$11.19
    Basic Monthly Charge + $24.07
    Regulatory charge + $6.71
    Delivery charge ($30.88 service charge +distribution volume charge $29.80+ transmission connection charge $4.80 +transmission network charge $6.80+ Smart Meter Charge $10.38=$82.66
    Total $239.23 for 1000 KwH

    Basic monthly Charge, $7.57
    Energy Charge: 7.672¢/kWhx1000, $76.72
    $7.57 + $73.81
    Total $81.38 for 1000 KwH

    British Colombia
    Basic monthly charge, 0.1835 per day ($5.50 monthly)
    Energy Charge: 0.0829¢/kWhx675=$55.96, 0.1243¢/kWhx325=$40.40
    Rate Rider 5% Rate Rider applied to all charges before taxes and levies
    5.50+96.35= 101.85 + $4.82 (rate rider)
    Total $106.67 for 1000 KwH

    Basic Monthly Charge $29.19
    Energy Charge: 12.624¢/KwHx1000, $126.24
    $29.19 + $126.24
    Total $155.43 for 1000 KwH

    Basic Monthly Charge, $12.19
    Energy Charge: 5.71¢/KwHx900=$51.39, 8.68¢/kWhx300=$26.04
    Total $89.62 for 1000 KwH

    New Brunswick
    Basic Monthly Charge, $22.79
    Energy Charge: 10.41¢/KwHx1000, 104.20
    104.20 + 22.79
    Total $126.99 for 1000 KwH

    Nova Scotia
    TOU billing
    Basic Monthly Charge, $18.82
    Energy Charge: break down 20 peak/20 mid/60 low
    Peak=19.158¢/kWh Medium=14.800¢/kWh low=7.873¢/kWh
    peak =38.31 medium=29.60 low=47.24
    Total $133.97 for 1000 KwH

    Basic charge, $15.70
    Energy Charge: 10.573¢/KwHx1000, $105.73
    Total $121.43 for 1000 KwH

    Basic Monthly Charge, $26.92
    Energy Rate Charge=13.56¢/KwHx1000, $135.60
    Total $162.52 for 1000 KwH

    • The above figures are enlightening. My example is just one reason why we pay the most of any province. Another example is the excessive wage scale for Hydo One employees – the list goes on.
      We need a big overhaul here but the government is simply not up to the job.

      • It doesn’t belong to us or the government any more. Mike Harris sold it, remember?

  19. She’s half right. The original mistake was Mike Harris and his ‘common sense revolution’. She did however make the mistake a lot worse.

    A ‘for profit’ hydroelectric system, and paying off the accumulated debt on the old one, will continue to be an albatross around the neck of the people of Ontario for political administrations to come.

    • According to the Globe, the privatization plan was crafted in part by a panel led by Ed Clark, a former TD Bank CEO hired by Ms. Wynne to advise her government on how to get money from its assets.
      The latest edition of the Sunshine List includes 7,632 employees of Ontario Power Generation. Their earnings total $1.07 billion (an average salary of $140,200). The last time Hydro One workers were on the Sunshine List (in 2014), there were 4,279 employees, with salaries totalling $550 million. The auditor general flagged in 2013 that generous salaries, pensions and benefits at OPG — especially among top executives — were partly to blame for rising hydro prices.