Kenora MP Bob Nault is applauding the Ontario government’s bold step to reduce electricity rates.

Under Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan and Rural or Remote Rate Protection Program “residents in rural and remote communities within the riding of Kenora could see hydro rate reductions of up to 50 per cent based on their electricity consumption,” Nault said Thursday.

“Electricity is a necessity for everyone. In this day and age, people shouldn’t have to choose between buying food and heating their home no matter where they live in Canada,” said Nault.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced earlier this month that people will receive an average 25-per-cent cut to their electricity bills starting this summer — 17 per cent in new reductions plus an eight-per-cent rebate that came into effect Jan. 1. Rates will also increase no higher than inflation for the next four years.

But the plan will ultimately cost ratepayers about $25 billion more in interest, the government has said. The plan will take part of the global adjustment charge off bills for the next 10 years, but the cost isn’t being eliminated, it’s being deferred to future ratepayers, racking up interest on that debt in the meantime.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has called on the Liberal government to table legislation for its hydro bill reduction plan on Monday, saying it’s short on details and “warrants one heck of an explanation.”

The legislature is not sitting this week for March break, but Horwath said Ontarians need to see the planned legislation as soon as possible.

“People deserve to see it in black and white so they can debate it and so the legislature can debate it too,” she said.

Nault went on to say that low income and rural customers will receive an even greater rate reduction, while small businesses and farms will also benefit from Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan.

“I am particular pleased to see that the Ontario government also recognizes the unfair burden that was placed on residents living in rural communities, low and moderate income families and our First Nations communities,” Nault said, adding that “these changes represent the largest single-reduction to rates in Ontario’s history.”

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