Ontario cottagers may see a hydro hike soon

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Ontario cottagers could see a major hydro hike
If you own a cottage, you could be in for an unwanted surprise. Your hydro bill could be going up by up to $1,000 a year. Mark Giunta reports – Jul 12, 2019

If you own a cottage in Ontario, you could be paying approximately $1,000 more a year on your hydro bill.

Hydro One is in the process of submitting a report to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) on its seasonal customers.

In 2015, the OEB gave Hydro One the directive to eliminate its seasonal rate class and move those customers to either low-density or medium-density billing.

“This change that’s proposed by the Ontario Energy Board will affect 154,000 seasonal customers in the province,” said Terry Rees, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations (FOCA). “It’s going to mean a dramatic increase in their costs. Affordability is a real challenge in rural Ontario.”

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Hydro One confirmed this in an email to Global News.

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“Hydro One has advocated on behalf of its customers on how the elimination of this rate class would have a negative effect on more than half of our seasonal customers. By eliminating the seasonal rate class, approximately 54% of our seasonal customers could see a significant increase to their bills,” stated Alicia Sayers, a spokesperson for Hydro One.

Sayers would go on to say the updated report that will be submitted will pitch another option for seasonal customers that will reflect the 2018-22 distribution rates and takes into consideration the current transition by Hydro One to an all-fixed distribution rate.

But the OEB has the final say on the matter and will make a decision after deliberating over the report. That decision isn’t expected for a few months.

“The OEB is already changing our rates so that the fixed portion of our bill is already being increased and phased in,” added Rees. “This is going to be on top of that. So this is going to be a real challenge for people with legacy homes and multi-generational families who will be challenged by this household budget impact.”

Global News has reached out to the OEB for comment on this story.

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FOCA estimates 84,000 of the seasonal customers will see the increase while 70,000 will be classed as medium-density and actually see a minor decrease in their bills.

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FOCA has approached Dave Smith, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP and parliamentary assistant to the minister of energy, northern development and mines, with its concerns.

“They don’t want to see their costs go up and I don’t blame them,” said Smith. “We don’t agree with the ruling and have asked them to take a look at it again. We can’t make any decisions or recommendations until we know the impacts from Hydro One.”

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