Hampton touts plan for fair hydro rates

    NDP leader Howard Hampton will reverse four years of misguided McGuinty Liberal hydro policies with a Fair Hydro Rates plan that will recover and sustain Northern Ontario forest-sector jobs.
    The NDP plan means that as of Jan. 1, 2008, Northern Ontario forest-sector mills would be eligible for a new industrial hydro rate of $45 a megawatt hour, all charges included.
    That’s a substantial saving over the McGuinty job-killing rate of $65 a megawatt hour.
    “Dalton McGuinty’s misguided policy of driving industrial hydro rates through the roof over the last four years has destroyed thousands of Northern Ontario forest-sector jobs and has decimated Northern Ontario communities,” said Hampton.
    “It is time to end the neglect and repair the damage that McGuinty has caused,” he stressed.
    Hampton said the NDP’s Fair Hydro Rates plan will help bring new hope and new opportunity to Northern Ontario forest-sector communities.
    “It will help us recover and sustain good-paying jobs for working families by ensuring that key employers have stable, predictable, and affordable hydro rates,” he remarked.
    To be eligible, forest-sector mills will have to enter into five-year agreements with the province to sustain Northern Ontario jobs and work with the government to achieve energy efficiency targets.
    Hampton’s preferred long-term mechanism to deliver the Fair Hydro Rates plan is a Northern Ontario Hydro-Electrical Corporation owned by the people of Northern Ontario.
    It would operate on a non-profit, power-at-cost basis.
    Northern Ontario generates electricity (mostly from falling water) at some of the lowest costs in the world, with the region having a surplus of low-cost electricity.
    And the north is an “energy island”—largely separate and unconnected to southern Ontario’s electricity system.
    “Northern Ontario hydro consumers should be benefiting from the gift that nature has given—fast-flowing rivers that generate low-cost electricity,” said Hampton.
    “But the McGuinty government’s misguided hydro policies forces forest-sector mills to pay skyrocketing hydro rates.
    “McGuinty has it wrong. New Democrats will make it right,” Hampton pledged.
    A Northern Ontario Hydro-Electrical Corporation providing power at cost will allow the people of Northern Ontario to take greater control over the region’s economic destiny.
    “If Manitoba Hydro and Saskatchewan Power can provide stable, affordable, and predictable hydro rates to sustain good jobs and communities in those province, then we can do the same in Northern Ontario,” Hampton added.