The Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce AND THE ONTARIO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CALL FOR TRANSPARENCY ON IMPLICATIONS OF HYDRO ONE SALE
The Bay of Quinte Regional Chambers of Commerce have joined a province wide coalition of 33 Ontario Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade calling on the Government of Ontario to provide factual evidence that electricity prices will not increase as a result of the government's decision to sell off 60 percent of Hydro One.
“Rising electricity prices are a collective concern and have put Ontario businesses at a competitive disadvantage,” said Bill Saunders, CEO of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce “It is important to recognize that electricity represents a significant cost to employers. As the government moves forward with the sale of Hydro One, it is essential that it works to ensure that business operation in Ontario remains affordable by containing electricity costs.”
In a recent report by the OCC, Empowering Ontario, Ontario’s chambers of commerce called for increased transparency around electricity and system cost drivers from the provincial government. The partial sale of Hydro One should be subject to a similar level of scrutiny.
“The Chamber Network is going to continue to put pressure on the Ontario Government until all of our questions are answered,” said Suzanne Andrews, General Manager of the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce. “There is just too much at stake for Ontario businesses and they have the right to know what to expect before this sale is finalized.”
In the short time since the release of the 2013 Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), industrial electricity rates have increased by 16 percent, and will increase a further 13 percent over the next five years. According to a survey conducted by the OCC, one in twenty businesses will either shut their doors or move to another jurisdiction in the coming years due to these rising rates. The Government of Ontario needs to make certain that the cumulative burden on business operation in Ontario does not increase due to the partial sale of Hydro One.
“The Ontario Chamber Network is concerned that the sale of Hydro One could adversely affect the cost of doing business in the province by adding to the rising price of electricity,” said Michael McLeod, General Manager of the Prince Edward Chamber of Tourism and Commerce. “As such, we are seeking detailed clarification from the government on how the sale will impact electricity prices.”
Members of the Chamber Network, Boards of Trade and local businesses are joining efforts to highlight the concerns being felt by business owners across varied sectors and regions in Ontario. The Chamber Network looks forward to the provincial government joining these discussions in order to provide some clarity around the future competitiveness of Ontario’s electricity system.