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