Town hydro customers won’t be getting rebates

The Fort Frances Power Corp. was told yesterday that its customers won’t be getting the $75 rebate promised by the province because they are ineligible for it according to regulations accompanying Bill 210.
“It’s very surprising,” FFPC CEO Mark McCaig said this morning. “We were under the impression our customers would getting it just like everybody else.”
The government was advised by the Ontario Energy Board that between May 1, 2002 and Nov. 11, 2002, power prices in Fort Frances, on average, were below the newly-capped price of 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.
This was due to the power agreement credit of 1.23 cents, which was applied to all electrical bills for FFPC customers, bringing the overall net average cost of power here below 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.
“We feel that although we’ve had the power agreement for years and years, the customers still deserve it,” said McCaig, noting that while hydro customers elsewhere in the province not benefiting from such a power agreement might have had to pay more than FFPC customers, local residents still had to pay higher-than-usual costs themselves.
“But according to the government of Ontario, the people of Fort Frances don’t deserve it,” he added.
The order from the province was loud and clear, lamented McCaig.
“It’s totally beyond our control,” he stressed. “Before we were to send out the $75 cheques, we had to receive that money from the government.”
What’s more, the situation here is almost unique.
“I believe there’s a company called PUC Distribution Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie. They have a similar power deal we have,” McCaig noted. “In fact, we’ve kind of had this ongoing competition to see who could keep the lowest rates.”
Premier Ernie Eves announced in mid-November that Ontario Hydro customers will get a minimum $75 rebate for the high power costs they’ve had to endure this fall.
Legislation passed this week also said that as of Dec. 1, no hydro customers would have to pay more than the 4.3 cent/kW hour rate until 2006 (the price cap won’t be reflected in bills until January or February).
  The reason for the 4.3 cent/kWh cap is that’s the price that existed before May 1, when the Conservative government opened the electricity-generation market to competition.