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  • Let’s Pay Higher Energy Rates – Wait, What?

This is perhaps the most unpopular thing you can say in Ontario, as higher rates are in fact the anathema of Ontarian happiness in this day and age. And it’s easy to see why: higher and higher rates are putting Ontario homeowners in the position of “energy poverty” when paying for electricity and gas becomes a significant portion of our incomes. We’re headed there, and it isn’t pretty.

But some sources say, the OEB among them, that increasing our energy rates in certain capacities, may in fact be the best way to promote lower energy in the future. Does that make sense to you? If it doesn’t, don’t worry: this is a difficult medicine to take. But could higher energy rates mean lower energy costs? Maybe.

At the Core, Conservation is Our Goal in Ontario

Smart meters and other government programs propose to create flat rate electricity.

Smart meters and other government programs propose to create flat rate electricity.

Overall, the most important thing Ontario needs to address is a need for greater energy conservation in both the short and long terms. Conservation in all aspects of our consumption is still proven the best way to lower energy costs by eliminating the problem of costs in the first place.

That which isn’t consumed isn’t charged, and isn’t used to stress Ontario’s energy grid, isn’t used in producing energy at costly (and often inefficient) generators, and finally: it isn’t used in gathering costly resources with which to generate energy.

The only problem is that proposed solutions to lowering our energy bills, such as fixed energy rates, will in fact increase consumption over time by removing the incentive for consumers to rope in their consumption. And inefficiencies in Ontario’s energy industry means that magical solutions that will form fully from the head of Zeus are a fantasy, not a reality.

In fact, a fixed rate hike would have the opposite effect that we want, pushing energy rates up for everyone and punishing low-income earners and the environmentally conscious for trying their hardest to lower the impact their households have on the grid. They would pay the same rates like the rest of us – punitively high.

What Rates Hikes Could Mean

Rate hikes wouldn’t come just as a rate hikes and nothing else. These hikes would have to compensate by lessening the charges we see on our energy bills in other locations. Looking back to the recent Ontario provincial election, examples exist such as the NDP’s platform to remove the HST portion of our bill. And that certainly is one way of compensating us for an eventual rate hike.

On the other hand, no rate change in the world would matter if we don’t redouble Ontario’s efforts in seeking sustainable energy conservation efforts. That’s why we propose that a rate hike, coupled with a reduction of administrative or frivolous charges, and a stronger push towards conservation efforts may, beyond all else, could result in overall lower prices through a cleaner and more conscious infrastructure.

Infographic courtesy of Ontario's Ministry of Energy

Infographic courtesy of Ontario’s Ministry of Energy

What’s Your Opinion?

Could more mean less for Ontario? Is what we charge for energy and gas a systemic problem or a temporary one? Would you agree for a rate hike if other charges on your bill were lowered? And the most important question of all:

Would high rate hikes motivate you to conserve more energy?

Share your questions and concerns

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