August 20, 2015 - The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, joining with a province wide coalition of 36 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, is calling on the Government of Ontario to provide factual evidence that electricity prices will not increase as a result of the government's decision to sell off 60 percent of Hydro One.
“Rising electricity prices is a collective concern and have put Ontario businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” said Bob Malcolmson, CEO & General Manager of the Greater Oshawa Chamber. “It is important to recognize that electricity represents a significant cost to employers. As the government moves forward with the sale of Hydro One, it is essential that it works to ensure that business operation in Ontario remains affordable by containing electricity costs.”
In a recent Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) report, Empowering Ontario, the Ontario Chambers of Commerce called for increased transparency around electricity and system cost drivers from the provincial government. The OCC believes that the partial sale of Hydro One should be subject to a similar level of scrutiny.
“Business needs transparency in the billing to understand what they are paying for and why,” stated Malcolmson, "Global Adjustment needs an explanation on how it is calculated, and how business can individually manage it to reduce costs and consumption. There is no factor on our bill for Global, just a dollar amount.”
In the short time since the release of the 2013 Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), industrial electricity rates have increased by 16 percent, and will increase a further 13 percent over the next five years. According to a survey conducted by the OCC, one in twenty businesses will either shut their doors or move to another jurisdiction in the coming years due to these rising rates. The Government of Ontario needs to make certain that the cumulative burden on business operation in Ontario does not increase due to the partial sale of Hydro One.
“The Ontario Chamber Network is concerned that the sale of Hydro One could adversely affect the cost of doing business in the province by adding to the rising price of electricity,” said Malcolmson. “As such, we are seeking detailed clarification from the government on how the sale will impact electricity prices.”
Members of the Chamber Network, Boards of Trade and local businesses are joining efforts to highlight the concerns being felt by business owners across varied sectors and regions in Ontario. The Chamber Network looks forward to the provincial government joining these discussions in order to provide some clarity around the future competitiveness of Ontario’s electricity system.