by Jeff Morris, Manotick Messenger
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]To heat or to eat?
That is a question facing more and more residents of both the Carleton riding and the Province of Ontario this decade.
Carleton Progressive Conservative candidate Goldie Ghamari hosted a public forum on the local and provincial hydro situation in Osgoode earlier this month. It was part of her Carleton Speaks series of meetings that have covered a wide ranged of topics.
“The meeting happened the day after the (Ontario PC leadership) debate in Ottawa so it was fresh on people’s minds,” Ghamari said. “There was a lot of concern with the rising hydro rates, and there was a lot of concern with the green energy act.”
Roger Greaves delivered a thorough presentation on the costs of hydro and how they have risen dramatically over the past decade. Greaves mentioned how local customers serviced by Hydro ne are paying higher rates than other customers. While the actual hydro rates between Ottawa Hydro and Hydro One are the same, Hydro One charges delivery rates that are much higher.
“There was definitely a feeling of frustration among the people serviced by Hydro One,” said Ghamari. “Families are struggling. It’s a difficult situation for them.”
Ghamari said that the Ontario Government recently refinanced its debt to help subsidize hydro costs. While it did bring some short term relief to the budget, the move brings more long term pain to the province.
“The Wynne Liberal Government borrowed $19 billion, but they are going to pay back $44 billion,” she said. “That’s more than 50 per cent interest. That was for their fair hydro plan.”
Osgoode Ward Councillor George Darouze also spoke at the forum. He discussed his petition on hydro prices that was singed by 8,500 rural residents of Ottawa. Darouze said that the classification of residents in rural villages and areas has to be changed from high density to medium density in order for the delivery charges at Hydro One to be lightened. He added that the problem is not one of capacity, but it is one of how our hydro is being delivered to our homes.
Among the Carleton residents who added their two cents to the discussion was Michelle Taylor of Manotick. She spoke about how her family moved from the city to Manotick and faced sticker shock when she received her first Hydro One bill.
Ghamari said that the decisions on hydro management and running up debt are strictly political.
“The decisions being made by the government are centered around being re-elected rather than what is right in the long term,” she said. “Every child that is born in Ontario is inheriting a $23,000 share of the provincial debt. We need to be looking at things long term.”
Ghamari added that the overwhelming thing she heard in the feedback of the meeting is that Carleton residents want the Green Energy Act repealed. She will be hosting her next Carleton Speaks forum on education April 5 at the Goulbourn Recreation Centre.