Ener­gy will be “hot” elec­tion is­sue for MPP Grant Crack

Vision (Canada) - - Actualites ● News - GREGG CHAM­BER­LAIN gregg.cham­ber­[email protected]

While it will more than li­ke­ly be war­mer when On­ta­rians go to the polls in ear­ly June, the cost of ener­gy to heat homes and barns in the sub-zero Ja­nua­ry cold is most cer­tain­ly a cur­rent concern to re­si­dents of Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell.

Du­ring a Ja­nua­ry 19 phone interview to confirm his plans to run for re-elec­tion, in­cumbent MPP Grant Crack fiel­ded ques­tions about pro­bable elec­tion is­sues for lo­cal vo­ters. One to­pic was ener­gy, both the cost of elec­tri­ci­ty and the need for more hy­dro ca­pa­ci­ty to sup­port Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell’s present and fu­ture eco­no­mic de­ve­lop­ment.

No pre-paid me­ters

One ener­gy concern Crack dis­mis­sed as a non-is­sue. Some Op­po­si­tion mem­bers and con­su­mer groups ex­pres­sed wor­ry about a “pre-pay­ment plan” pro­po­sal that Hy­dro One in­clu­ded in its rates and ser­vices ap­pli­ca­tion last year to the On­ta­rio Ener­gy Board

The pre-pay­ment op­tion sug­ges­ted cus­to­mers could pay in ad­vance a lump sum for pro­jec­ted ener­gy use ba­sed on ana­ly­sis of past elec­tri­ci­ty consump­tion through their “smart me­ters”. Those who took this op­tion could keep paying lump sums as their “ener­gy ac­count” paid out.

The concern was that se­niors and others on fixed in­comes who didn’t want the op­tion would be char­ged ad­vance pay­ments any­way and then face ha­ving their elec­tri­ci­ty cut off when their ac­counts ran out and they couldn’t pay more right away. Crack said Ener­gy Mi­nis­ter Glenn Thi­beault pro­mi­sed that “un­der no cir­cum­stances” would anyone be for­ced to ac­cept a pre-paid hy­dro me­ter se­tup.

Hy­dro ca­pa­ci­ty

The amount of elec­tri­ci­ty avai­lable for large-scale in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial pro­jects in the Glen­gar­ry-Pres­cott-Rus­sell ri­ding has be­come a concern for some mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ties. Last year Hy­dro One an­noun­ced an in­crease in the ca­pa­ci­ty al­lo­ca­ted for the StAl­bert Cheese Fac­to­ry to help sup­port plans for ex­pan­sion of the fa­ci­li­ty that has been a ma­jor source of lo­cal jobs and a cor­ners­tone of the re­gio­nal dai­ry pro­ducts sec­tor for more than a cen­tu­ry.

Ca­lyp­so Water Park near the Vil­lage of Li­moges is al­so in need of a boost for its hy­dro ca­pa­ci­ty to help main­tain the exis­ting fa­ci­li­ty and sup­port fu­ture de­ve­lop­ment and ex­pan­sion of the complex. This complex has be­come an im­por­tant part of the sum­mer tou­rism in­dus­try in Pres­cott-Rus­sell.

“The good news is that we’ve found a short-term solution for St-Al­bert,” said Crack. “We hope in the long term to be able to deal with Ca­lyp­so too, es­pe­cial­ly since Li­moges is gro­wing.”

More po­wer

While the cheese fac­to­ry and Ca­lyp­so can look for­ward to more po­wer for fu­ture growth, other com­mu­ni­ties in the ri­ding have the same need to help them at­tract new in­vest­ment.

“I’m wor­king with Hy­dro One on re­vie­wing all of this,” said Crack. “It has been de­ter­mi­ned that there is a re­gio­nal chal­lenge for elec­tri­cal ca­pa­ci­ty,” he ad­ded. “There’s no ques­tion that Ro­ck­land is gro­wing. There’s no ques­tion that Rus­sell (Town­ship) is gro­wing, and there’s Cas­sel­man too. Our area is pri­med for a ma­jor ca­pi­tal in­vest­ment and that’s what we’re wor­king on.”

—pho­to d’ar­chives

Bien que la météo se­ra sans doute plus clé­mente lors des élec­tions pro­vin­ciales de juin pro­chain, la tem­pé­ra­ture du mois de jan­vier et les coûts éle­vés de l’éner­gie sont cer­tai­ne­ment une pré­oc­cu­pa­tion ac­tuelle pour les élec­teurs de...

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