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Thursday August 20th, 2015

Posted at 9:11pm

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The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce along with a coalition of 33 Ontario Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, has called on the Government of Ontario to provide transparent evidence and analysis that electricity prices will not increase as a result of the government’s decision to sell off 60% of Hydro One.

“Rising electricity prices is a top concern for not just Windsor-Essex business but business across Ontario. It’s putting us at a competitive disadvantage,” said Matt Marchand, President & CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce. “It is important to recognize that electricity represents a significant cost to employers and job creators. As the government moves forward with the sale of Hydro One, it is essential that it works to ensure that business operation in Ontario remains affordable by containing electricity costs.”

In a recent report by the OCC, Empowering Ontario, Ontario’s chambers of commerce called for increased transparency around electricity and system cost drivers from the provincial government. The partial sale of Hydro One should be subject to a similar level of scrutiny.

The chamber says that in the short time since the release of the 2013 Long Term Energy Plan, industrial electricity rates have increased by 16%, and will increase a further 13% over the next five years. According to a survey conducted by the OCC, one in twenty businesses will either shut their doors or move to another jurisdiction in the coming years due to these rising rates. The Government of Ontario needs to make certain that the cumulative burden on business operation in Ontario does not increase due to the partial sale of Hydro One.

“The Ontario Chamber Network is concerned that the sale of Hydro One could adversely affect the cost of doing business in the province by adding to the rising price of electricity,” said Marchand. “As such, we are seeking detailed clarification from the government on how the sale will impact electricity prices.”

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