Energy policy on table

Left, Gerry Muller, owner of AJ’s Trading Post, speaks with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, right, about his hydro bills, with John Rafferty, top left, listening during the visit to the rural Thunder Bay area business on Thursday.

When he factors in his hydro bill, Gerry Muller feels like he is making two mortgage payments on his Thunder Bay-area home.

Muller, who owns AJ’s Trading Post on Highway 61 south of Thunder Bay, is deeply concerned about the cost of hydro.

“It’s actually equal to my $200,000 mortgage, my bills every month . . . it takes away from your bottom line,” said Muller.

“I was looking at the plan from the NDP and they actually have a plan that sounds like to pay for it (lower hydro rates), without sending it down the road for my kids to pay for it.

“When you look at our bills, we just got rid of a line on there called debt retirement and I don’t want to see that line back for my children . . . there has to be other things that can be done rather than deferring payments and paying more on interest.”

He is also frustrated with the higher delivery charges for rural customers and doesn’t understand why urban rates are cheaper.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath agreed with Muller’s frustration.

“We know there is an unfair system in place right now for delivery charges for rural customers and it is something that New Democrats, I guess when we form government in 2018, our plan takes that into consideration,” she said.

Horwath said that the NDP hydro plan will make the rate even for both urban and rural customers.

The NDP put a plan out two weeks ago to tell Ontario residents that they are serious about “fixing the problems that the Liberals have created in our hydro system.”

“The Liberals have apparently got a plan, nobody has seen it yet, they keep having press releases . . . but they don’t really have a plan that they are prepared to share with people,” said Horwath.

On Wednesday, Horwath said she asked Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to put a plan forward, as next week the legislature is back in session.

“I didn’t know whether people are going to like that plan or not, I certainly know that we are getting a lot of positive response about the plan we put forward, because it actually deals with the systemic problems in our electricity system.”

Horwath outlined some of the big elements of the NDP’s hydro plan, that will give people up to a 30 per cent reduction in rates, with people in rural Ontario to benefit from the reduced delivery rate.

Mandatory time of use pricing is also going to be removed by the NDP plan, “so that you don’t have to do your laundry at four in the morning anymore,” said Horwath.

The eight per cent HST with be removed, and the NDP say they will lobby the federal government to remove another five per cent off hydro as well.

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