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Friday, January 28, 2011

MPP Demands Hydro Answers

Goderich | by Peter Jackson  

Jim Wilson wants answers on hydro debt retirement charge.

The Progressive Conservatives in the Legislature want to know whether the Liberals are financing green energy with a hydro debt retirement charge that's staying on your power bill far beyond the planned 2012 end-date for the levy.

Former PC Energy Ninister and Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson stopped in Goderich and Stratford on Friday to outline his party's concerns over the hydro debt retirement charge.

Wilson told reporters the McGuinty government's extension of the collection period came about very quietly.

The recently-released annual report from the Ontario Electricity Finance Corporation shows the $7.8-billion in so-called residual stranded debt arising from the creation of Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One in 2002 has been paid in full.

Wilson challenges the Liberals to withdraw the charge.

He quotes a survey of 34 hundred commercial enterprises conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business that shows the cost of electricity is their top concern.

Wilson says if the government doesn't drop the debt-retirement charge immediately then they should at least do it next year as originally planned.

The Tories say someone should get to the bottom of what has happened to the extra money hydro customers have been paying.

Wilson repeats PC leader Tim Hudak's call for a forensic audit to find out where the money has gone if it's not still being applied against the 7.8-billion dollar debt.

Wilson and many of his Tory colleagues believe the extra money is going for a highly-touted Liberal initiative.

He says the money may be going toward subsidies under the Green Energy Act to promote alternative power sources.

Wilson says the account is intended for debt-retirement only and that Opposition questions to the Premier on the charge extension have resulted in an answer he says "doesn't make any sense".


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