The next time you pay your overinflated and price gouging Hydro Bill remember the following names who are receiving the unwarranted salaries financed by you, the honest hard working consumer.
Also remember the names of the Energy Ministers who directed your dollars into the full pockets of the who’s who of our Energy Sector.
When the description “Energy Poverty” is mentioned, it sure doesn’t apply to the “few fat cats” that are sucking the $$$$ out of your rapidly diminishing “disposable income”!
The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) just released their 2nd annual report on LEAP and after reading it and relating it to the money being passed around it does give you an inspiration to do just that—leap!
The money doled out to the 8,053 recipients (electricity related) in 2012 totaled $3,476,933. or an average of $431,76 per grant. To put the total monies granted in perspective it cost ratepayers 3/1000th of a cent per kilowatt. If we look at the cost to ratepayers to pay for the top five executives at say; Hydro One Networks, Toronto Hydro and the OEB the cost for those fifteen (15) people according to the 2012 “Sunshine List” was $7,171,000 or $478,000 each (enough to cover in excess of another 17,000 grants) and comfortably enough to place those 15 senior public service executives in the top 1% of the Canadian income earners where the qualifying income was a meager $191,000 in the recent Statistic Canada release. Even the OEB’s top 5 executives, who administer the LEAP program earned a combined $1,843,000 or enough to cover another 4,270 grants.
There are some out there who might say; well why do we need the LEAP program? That is a valid question but if you are spending 10% or more of your income on energy (remember its not just electricity) your in “energy poverty”. What created energy poverty in Ontario? I would be remiss if I didn’t point to the Liberal government’s arbitrary decision that Ontario should accept the teachings of David Suzuki and Bob Dole leading them to decide that wind and solar generation was the nirvana and coal plants were the hell of the electricity system. Paying exorbitant rates to mainly foreign developers to erect industrial wind turbines and solar panels throughout the province are the principal cause of rocketing electricity prices.
Dwight Duncan started the process of looking at low-income earners in 2008 driven to energy poverty when he was Minister of Energy. That resulted in the OEB commencing a process to “examine issues associated with low income energy consumers”.
Dwight Duncan’s successor, George Smitherman put the concept on hold via his September 8, 2009 directive to the OEB that ordered the “new support programs for low-income energy consumers not be put in place in advance of a ministerial direction.” Such was the power of a Minister of the McGuinty cabinet. NB: Smitherman now reputedly lives in Forest Hill so presumably isn’t likely to need a LEAP grant.
Fast forward to July 5, 2010 and Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy instructed the OEB to restart the process and to have it “completed for January 2011, recognizing that 2011 may be a transition year with regards to establishing a robust and integrated natural gas and electricity low-income energy strategy.” Duguid conveyed no indication of the amount that the OEB should budget for grants, nor where the money to support the program should come from, only that they “consider increasing the funds allocated to such program beyond the level established by the OEB in its earlier consultation process in the amounts the OEB determines to be appropriate.”
Later that year the Duguid/Duncan (Minister of Finance) duo brought us the Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) and the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB). The LTEP forecast was not pretty for anyone living near or at the poverty level as it said electricity rates alone (the LTEP ignored the impact on delivery costs) would rise 7.9% a year for the next 5 years. Interestingly enough both the LTEP and the OCEB occurred within days so one must wonder if it was an orchestration by Premier McGuinty. Tom Adams found many related co-incidental events in his review of how things played out at that time.
The use of the annual incomes (2012 sunshine list) of Hydro One, Toronto Hydro and the OEB’s top five income earners hopefully has not escaped the reader as the following will bring some context to the approximately $3.5 million granted under the LEAP program by all of the local distribution companies (75 in total) to those Ontarians living in energy poverty who were aware of the program.