Fort residents to get hydro break

Electricity consumers in Fort Frances will be paying less towards Ontario Hydro’s debt than most other communities across the province.
When the competitive electricity market opens in the province, all consumers will have to pay a 0.7 cent per kilowatt-hour Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) to pay off the former Ontario Hydro’s stranded debt.
But town consumers will only be paying 0.47 cents per kilowatt-hour because consumers here have benefited from a hydro deal with the local mill and have not had to rely 100 percent on Ontario Hydro for electricity.
“It’s excellent news for consumers in Fort Frances, it’s one more indication of how our relationship with the local mill has benefited us,” noted Mark McCaig, president and CEO of the Fort Frances Power Corp.
McCaig worked with representatives of several other municipalities which have had electricity sources other than Ontario Hydro, who lobbied for an exemption from all or a portion of the DRC because of utilities not supplied by the provincial company.
“I was contacted by the Municipal Electric Association [MEA] in the spring of this year and they said ‘I understand you have this unique situation in Fort Frances,’” recalled McCaig.
“It was their belief, and my belief, that we should be exempt of the retirement charge schedule.”
The Ministry of Finance has proposed that, overall, 19 communities will be paying less than the 0.7 cents per kilowatt-hour rate the rest of the province’s consumers will face.
Of those, consumers in Cornwall and Fort Erie will not have to pay any DRC while Bracebridge consumers will pay 0.46 cents, Parry Sound 0.65 cents, and Ottawa 0.69 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Fort Frances consumers will have the seventh-lowest DRC charge in the province.
The DRC is expected to end when all of Ontario Hydro’s stranded debt has been paid off.