Ontario electricity rates to keep rising as long term energy plan released

TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government will release its long-term energy plan today, and the bottom line for consumers is electricity rates will continue to increase.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says electricity rates jumped an average of 3.4 per cent each year since the Liberals were elected in 2003, and will keep going up in future.

Chiarelli says the government has taken what he calls “very significant steps to mitigate those rate increases,” including cancelling two new nuclear reactors that would have cost an estimated $15 billion.

He says the savings will more than offset the impact of the estimated $1.1 billion cost of cancelling gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga prior to the 2011 election.

The New Democrats say Chiarelli is softening the public up for higher electricity bills, and doubt his commitment to energy conservation.

The Progressive Conservatives say the Liberals have made a mess of Ontario’s electricity system, especially with expensive wind and solar power subsidies they vow to end, and can’t be trusted when it comes to energy issues.

Nuclear will remain the largest component of Ontario’s electricity mix, but is expected to fall to about 47 per cent from around 55 per cent in the new plan, which will reflect the fact the province will stop burning coal to generate power by the end of this year.