HY­DRO RATES HOT IS­SUE AT ROUND­TABLE

Le Reflet (The News) - - ACTUALITÉS • NEWS - GREGG CHAM­BER­LAIN gregg.cham­ber­lain@eap.on.ca

The cost of elec­tri­ci­ty for re­si­dents in Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell is one of the bur­ning is­sues for the pro­vin­cial elec­tion campaign. Th­ree can­di­dates vying to be­come the next MPP for the ri­ding agree that so­me­thing must be done, but they don’t all agree on what.

Li­be­ral can­di­date Pierre Le­roux, Li­ber­ta­rian can­di­date Dar­cy Neal Don­nel­ly, and NDP can­di­date Bon­nie JeanLouis all ac­cep­ted an in­vi­ta­tion to sit down with EAP edi­to­rial staff for a round­table dis­cus­sion, May 17, on se­ve­ral key concerns in the GPR. One to­pic of conten­tion was the cost of hy­dro.

“I un­ders­tand these things be­cause I live with them eve­ry day,” said Le­roux, no­ting that more people should al­so be aware that a ru­ral sa­vings pro­gram exists for hy­dro.

Le­roux cri­ti­ci­zed both the pre­vious Pro­gres­sive Conservative and NDP pro­vin­cial go­vern­ments for fai­lure to in­vest en­ough in re­gu­lar as­set re­pla­ce­ment for On­ta­rio Hy­dro. One of the big chal­lenges for the Li­be­ral go­vern­ment, he said, is the cost of dea­ling with the exis­ting aging hy­dro in­fra­struc­ture.

Jean-Louis ar­gued that the NDP op­po­sed the Li­be­ral go­vern­ment’s de­ci­sion to sell of part of Hy­dro One to the pri­vate sec­tor. She bla­med that as part of the rea­son for the cost of elec­tri­ci­ty in On­ta­rio.

“Re­tur­ning Hy­dro One to the pu­blic sec­tor is one of our big­gest goals,” JeanLouis said, ad­ding that it will be ea­sier for the go­vern­ment to over­see a pu­bli­cly-ow­ned uti­li­ty and re­duce the cost of elec­tri­ci­ty for consu­mers. Don­nel­ly said a Li­ber­ta­rian go­vern­ment would re­peal the Green Ener­gy Act, do away with “time of ac­cess” billing for hy­dro, abo­lish sub­si­dies for al­ter­na­tive ener­gy sales to the po­wer grid, and al­so “ter­mi­nate all go­vern­ment ap­poin­tees” to the Hy­dro One board. He em­pha­si­zed that the Li­ber­ta­rian phi­lo­so­phy fa­vours as lit­tle go­vern­ment po­li­cy in­ter­ven­tion as pos­sible.

the go­vern­ment from the in­dus­try,” he said, “and let the free mar­ket run things.”

Le coût de l’élec­tri­ci­té est un en­jeu im­por­tant pour trois des can­di­dats de la cir­cons­crip­tion de Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell aux élec­tions pro­vin­ciales. Ces trois can­di­dats avaient ac­cep­té l’in­vi­ta­tion de la Com­pa­gnie d’édi­tion An­dré Pa­quette à une table ronde édi­to­riale la se­maine der­nière. Mais les can­di­dats ne sont pas tous d’ac­cord sur une so­lu­tion.

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