A coalition of merchants associations in Ottawa has sent a letter to provincial politicians asking the Ontario government to place a moratorium on energy rate increases announced as part of its new energy plan.
The Ottawa Council of Business Improvement Areas, an organization representing 18 BIAs in the capital, wants the province to do more research into how the rate increases will impact small and medium-sized businesses before making any changes.
“We're urging the premier to work on the side of Ottawa retailers, on the side of job creators and on the side of Ottawa employees and reconsider and retract the government's crippling hydro increases,” said Alex Lewis, the executive director of the Bells Corners Business Improvement Area, in a press release.
Many small businesses have already seen large increases in the amount of money they’re spending since changes came into effect a few years ago that were designed to encourage energy use at night by making it more expensive to use it during the day.
This has created added costs, the letter said, since many of these businesses are open during the day.
The OCBIA delivered the letter to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s office on Wednesday morning, the press release said.
Mr. Chiarelli released details of the province’s new energy plan earlier this month. Energy users would, under the proposal, see rate increases of 42 per cent in the next five years.
Larger increases would follow over the next two decades.