Hydro cost relief on the way for small biz owners, Chiarelli promises

Mark
Mark Brownlee
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Ontario’s minister of energy is promising help will soon be on the way for small business owners looking to rein in ballooning hydro costs.

Bob Chiarelli is the Ontario Minister of Energy. (Provided)

Bob Chiarelli told members of Ottawa’s business community in a speech on Tuesday morning that he planned to announce measures that would save small enterprises money on their hydro bills.

However just what form that relief is going to take remains unclear.

Mr. Chiarelli said he wants to model the program after pilot projects that Hydro Ottawa has run that have, according to him, “proven effective in saving local entrepreneurs hundreds of thousands (of dollars) on their local hydro bills.”

“Our government is now looking at ways to expand this program and to reach out to a group that needs some attention in the system, and that is smaller commercial operators,” he said on Tuesday morning.

“We hope that we will have something to announce in the near future that will be significantly beneficial to small commercial operations,” he added.

Hydro rates are expected to steadily rise in the coming years.

Mr. Chiarelli, in a plan released last December, said the province is anticipating rate increases of 42 per cent over the next five years. There would then be larger increases over the next two decades.

That prompted a collection of merchants’ associations in the Ottawa area, the Ottawa Council of Business Improvement Areas, to send a letter to the province asking it to place a moratorium on energy increases.

Many small- and medium-sized businesses have already seen substantial increases in the amount of money they’re spending on energy since a change in pricing took effect a few years ago.

Those changes were intended to encourage consumers to use more energy at night by making it more expensive to use it during the day. However that’s also when many small business owners need to use energy the most.

Mr. Chiarelli spoke Tuesday at the Eggs 'n Icons breakfast series, an event jointly organized by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal.

See also: BIAs ask province to reverse price increases included in energy plan.

Organizations: Ottawa Council of Business Improvement Areas, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Ottawa Business Journal

Geographic location: Ottawa

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  • Anthony
    April 17, 2014 - 12:46

    Dear Mr. Chiarelli: The only way Ontario business will feel any relief is when you and the rest of your crew vacate Queens Park. You have made a colossal mess of the energy sector and set our province back decades. We don't need anymore of your "help" because it will inevitably just cost us more.

  • Chris Burton
    April 16, 2014 - 15:04

    Chiarelli & the Liberal's brag about closing down cheap coal fired co-generation power plants in Ontario all while new ones in China are brought on line every Week. They do this in the name of the environment ? It is a know fact that China is now the largest producer of carbon in our environment and care not about the costs .. So we continue to exploit there lax environmental policies while putting Canadians out of work .. Force Canadian businesses out of work over hydro costs while we embrace cheap offshore labour and lax environmental policy .. Great plan .. Keep voting Liberal folks.

  • Anthony
    April 16, 2014 - 13:30

    Dear Mr. Chiarelli: The only way Ontario business will feel any relief is when you and the rest of your crew vacate Queens Park. You have made a colossal mess of the energy sector and set our province back decades. We don't need anymore of your "help" because it will inevitably just cost us more.