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Ont. hydro rates increase

Ont. hydro rates increase

The on-peak rate is 20.8 cents per kilowatt hour

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Farming in Ontario just got a little more expensive.

On Nov. 1, the Ontario Energy Board switched to its winter time-of-use pricing, which upped the price of electricity across the province.

Until April 30, 2020, users will pay 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for off-peak usage (from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.), 14.4 cents/kWh during mid-peak hours (11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and 20.8 cents/kWh for on-peak usage.

On-peak hours occur twice daily – from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The increase in hydro rates will lead to additional operating costs for producers.

“The problem with grain elevators and other places that do business with farmers is that they will pass the cost onto us,” Larry Davis, a cash crop producer from Brant County, told Farms.com. “It’s farmers being charged more and it’s just crazy.”

Some of the responsibility for the rate increase falls on the provincial government, Davis said.

One of Premier Ford’s promises during the provincial election campaign was to lower hydro bills by 12 per cent.

Customers haven’t seen those reductions and the farmers may look to Ford’s cabinet for answers, Davis said.

“This government was supposed to clean up hydro, saying they inherited a mess from (Kathleen Wynne’s) Liberals,” he said. The Conservative government is “just creating more of a problem and I think we’re going to have to reach out to Minister Hardeman to see if there’s anything he can do.”

Producers find themselves in a tough spot because of how much they need hydro.

Its “a major factor when you’re drying grain or heating a barn,” Mark Davis, a cash crop and hog producer from Lennox & Addington County, told Farms.com. “You do what you can to become more efficient but, when that bill comes, you have no choice but to pay it.”

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