Hydro rates hurting business, family budgets

HAMILTON, ONTARIO - OntarioÂ’s Progressive Conservative leader visited a hydro transfer station in Hamilton to talk about rising hydro bills.

Tim Hudak says the price of hydro is having an impact on the cost of doing business in Ontario and is straining family budgets.

Hudak says smart meters, the Green Energy Act and massive subsidies to the foreign company Samsung are causing electricity bills to skyrocket.

Hudak says hydro rates have increased by 75 per cent — or more than 100 per cent if you have a smart meter.

But Energy Minister Brad Duguid says smart meters arenÂ’t the reason for the increase, itÂ’s the cost of improving the energy infrastructure.

Duguid says there is a cost to building a clean, modern and reliable energy system.

Meanwhile, Hudak has called on Premier Dalton McGuinty to make time-of-use pricing optional for families.

And Hudak said if the Tories are elected in October he will create a consumer advocate at the Ontario Energy Board to ensure all decisions reflect the consumerÂ’s ability to pay.

Duguid said Ontario residents will see through Hudak’s “shiftiness” on energy.

“He’s trying to hoodwink Ontario families into believing you can have a modern, clean, reliable energy system without making the important investments that we’re making,” Duguid said. “Ontario families are smarter than that.”

The Tory leader faced a group of protesters earlier in the day.

A group opposed to HudakÂ’s support of a mid-peninsula highway expressed their feelings at a breakfast meeting in Flamborough, Ont.

Twenty-two people braved the frigid early morning temperatures for more than an hour to tell Hudak the highway isnÂ’t needed, wanted or affordable.

The proposed highway would cross the Niagara Peninsula, linking the Hamilton area to Niagara Falls, Ont.


in Year