Ontario Education Minister, and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)Ontario Education Minister, and Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Huron Bruce MPP Wants Hydro Debt Retirement Charge Taken Off Business Bills

Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson wants to see the Debt Retirement Charge removed from hydro bills for Ontario small businesses. Thompson has tabled a bill to amend the Electricity Act,1998, after hearing small businesses are having a hard time affording their hydro. Thompson says the Auditor General revealed in 2011 that the government had already collected enough money to pay off Hydro One's $7.8 billion stranded debt. And though the government removed the debt retirement charge from residential bills, businesses continue to pay it. She says the Ontario Electricity Financial corporation reported the government collected $859 million from the debt retirement charge in 2015-16 alone. "The government continues to collect thousands of dollars every month from businesses across the province under the pretense of repaying the debt retirement charge, meanwhile the reality is that it's simply for their own use," said Thompson. "Small businesses and the families that work hard to keep them running should not bear the burden of the Liberal's fiscal mismanagement."

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the debt retirement charges accounts for between 2 and 5% of Ontario businesses' hydro bills. "We thank Lisa Thompson for listening and working to directly address one of our Ontario members' three key energy recommendations," said Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs (Ontario) for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). "Our 42,000 Ontario members representing all sectors have been struggling with crippling hydro costs for several years. We have been advocating for immediately removing the debt retirement charge from commercial hydro bills, as well as eliminating punitive time of use pricing, and making the Global Adjustment visible on all hydro bills."

"This is just another example of the Liberal government continuing to hurt small business in Ontario," said Thompson. "If passed, this bill would ease the pressures on Ontario small businesses who are feeling the burden of Liberal government mismanagement day in and day out."

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