June 20th, 2017
No, was the overwhelming response on Monday night, from Eastern Ontario residents attending an Ontario Energy Board community meeting in Napanee into a proposed rate increase by Hydro One.
The meeting focused on a proposed hike in distribution rates at Hydro One which could add an average of $2.50 per month over the next five years to electricity bills. The OEB is holding a series of meetings to receive input on the company’s rate application which, if approved, would see the monthly increases begin in January of 2018.
Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith, Progressive Conservative Energy Critic, told the gathering that until the electric company reins in executive compensation any rate applications should be denied.
“What the OEB should be is an arbitrator and look at other jurisdictions across Canada to ensure that we are paying reasonable salaries to our executives. The salaries at Hydro One are way out of whack. To be fair, it’s not the board at Hydro One that awarded the compensation packages. It was Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal government that awarded these massive contracts prior to selling Hydro One.”
Smith went on to explain the CEO at Hydro Quebec and BC Hydro made less than $500,000 compensation per year while the Hydro One CEO received $4.6 million. He added that Hydro Quebec serves three times as many customers and has electricity prices that are a third of Ontario’s.
MPP Smith noted that in the past the OEB decided not to allow Ontario Power Generation to pass on compensation increases to ratepayers.
“The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Ontario Energy Board in their assessment that OPG’s staffing levels and employment costs were too high. I’m asking you to do the same thing here today. The application for a rate increase should be rejected until compensation is brought in line with other Canadian provinces”.
Smith closed saying many people are living in energy poverty and businesses are hanging on by a thread as electricity rates soar. He called on the OEB to stand up for rural and eastern Ontario and reject the rate increase until Hydro One gets executive compensation under control.
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