Hydro One petition nears 1,000 signatures

Gets attention from MPPs province-wide

PROVIDENCE BAY—A Providence Bay woman is continuing to collect signatures on a petition relating to the high cost of hydro and poor services being provided, and is getting close to her goal of 1,000 signatures. She has also had some replies from MPPs on her concerns.

“I have 915 signatures so far, and have a bunch more petitions on the (Manitoulin) Island to pick up, and more coming from Windsor and Thunder Bay,” Tanya Giles told the Recorder this past Monday.

“I have received replies from several MPPs, with the Conservative and NDP MPPs behind me and what I’m trying to do and encouraging me to continue to push forward on this issue,” said Ms. Giles.

Ms. Giles explained, “I received an email from the office of Kathryn McGarry, Liberal MPP for Cambridge and Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). She has outlined ways and programs that are available that can help people can save on hydro, but the problem is if someone has a low income they will not benefit. The province has an appliance replacement program, but I’ve talked to a lot of people and these appliances have to be at least 15-years-old before the government will take care of them.”

“Some of the MPPs have indicated that when you have a majority government in power, as there is now, their hands are tied on getting anything changed,” said Ms. Giles.

Ms. Giles also pointed out, “I have also made three attempts at contacting Glenn Thibeault, Liberal MPP for Sudbury and Minister of Energy, and have not received a response as of yet. In my final letter to him I stated as follows: “Again….. I will ask for a reply to my original email. This is my third attempt at contacting you in regards to the hydro crisis in Ontario. Please make the effort to take our concerns seriously. On Global News you said you didn’t think there was a hydro crisis. I ask you to travel around and talk to rural Ontarians. You will be shown that there most definitely is a hydro crisis. Please respond to my email. I have already expressed how the people of Ontario are feeling ignored. Your lack of response verifies this feeling to be true. My original email to you was sent in May of 2016.”

Ms. Giles shared the reply she has received from Ms. McGarry’s office. “We recognize that the price of  electricity can be difficult for those that pay a higher share of their income towards the bills-particularly low income families and seniors. That’s why we launched Ontario’s Energy Support Program and removed the debt retirement charge from residential bills on January 1 of this year, saving the average family $430 annually.”

“The rate adjustment announced by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) is noted as a result of lower than anticipated usage over the past six months,” wrote Ms. McGarry. “This increase is required to recover the actual cost of providing electricity to customers over this period. This should not be confused with the effectiveness and savings achieved by conserving energy. Energy conservation is proven to be successful and provides savings for consumers on every bill. Simply put, saving energy means saving money. Energy you don’t use is energy you don’t pay for.”’

“You also mentioned opposing the sale of Hydro One,” wrote Ms. McGarry. “The Ontario government’s decision to broaden the ownership of Hydro One was a very difficult decision to make and certainly not one taken lightly. We recognize that Hydro One is an important strategic asset, but we simply cannot overlook the urgent need for substantial investment in improved infrastructure in our community and across the province.”

“It is necessary to make decisions that go beyond ideology and beyond the life span of an election cycle in order to grow our economy, create jobs and secure a better standard of living for all Ontarians. The province has taken a bold but responsible, long-term perspective. The easy thing, of course, is to do nothing. However, the Ontario government recognize that they have been entrusted to build a better Ontario,” wrote Ms. McGarry.

Ms. Giles told the Recorder, “I responded to this email by sending a copy of my own hydro bill and asking them to explain it to me. If I do not pay for hydro I do not use, then my bill is stating otherwise. I have not received a response since sending a copy of my hydro bill.”

Ms. Giles said she has received replies from eight MPPs including Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin, Jack MacLaren, PC MPP Carleton-Missisippi Mills, John Yakabuski, PC MPP Renfrew Nipissing Pembroke (Energy Critic and Chief Opposition Whip), Bill Walker, PC MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Victor Fedeli, PC MPP Nipissing, Michael Harris, PC MPP for Kitchener Conestoga, and Lisa Gretzky NPD MPP Windsor West.

Mr. Mantha wrote, “unfortunately when a government has majority power, they can pass bills and motions without the other parties support. The only thing opposition parties, such as the NDP, and or constituents such as yourself, can do is keep pushing and  voicing concerns. It is our hope that Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals will see how unhappy Ontarians are about this decision (Hydro One selloff) and change their mind.”

“The sell-off of Hydro One and the current Bill 135 that will remove critical oversight powers of the IESO and OEB (means) hydro rates will only continue to skyrocket for all Ontarians with no end in sight as long as the Wynne Liberals hold power,” wrote Mr. Walker’s office. “Unfortunately, Premier Wynne has a majority government and seems unwilling to change direction for their failed electrical policies. As a result, our party’s effort to put things back on the right path have been blocked. That being said, MPP Walker and MPP Yakabuski (energy critic) will continue to give voice to the dissatisfaction that Ontarians have against the Liberals irresponsible hydro policies.”

For information on how to sign the petition, contact Ms. Giles at 705-377-5231.