Mpp’s have voiced their disapproval of the Ontario Energy “gouging” that is taking place across Ontario up to this point but now Mayors and Councillors from Municipalities have had enough and are now going after the Provincial Government through the Ontario Ombudsman in order to try and save their very townships from Bankruptcy!
At their Jan. 7 meeting, Trent Hills council authorized Macmillan to take his concerns to the Ontario Ombudsman. Two days later, he wrote a letter that did just that.
Recalling Chiarelli’s words, the mayor said in a recent interview, “probably for one of the few times in my life, I was shocked speechless.
“Sandy and I have a small business we have operated over 20 years, and it won’t survive with an increase like that,” he continued.
Macmillan’s time as Northumberland County warden taught him a lot about social services and the needs they address of seniors, people on fixed incomes and especially the working poor. He is concerned how such a hike will affect them.
“They aren’t on social assistance, they have one or more jobs, they can barely make ends meet, they are just on the edge,” he said.
“We always talk about fixed incomes, but these are uncontrollable expenses. You can talk about shutting off the lights, but what do they do after that? The delivery charges keep going up.”
After the downloading of the Harris years, Macmillan could say a lot of good things about what the Liberal government has done for municipalities.
“But since the gas-plant scandals and now the proposal to increase hydro, I’ve lost my cool. They have lost me. There seems to be a huge disconnect between what their job is and what the taxpayer expects.”
There’s a good reason we need provincial and federal government behind such big-scale services as hydro, Macmillan said — municipalities can’t afford them otherwise, as they don’t have access to the same big revenue streams. It seems the province is tending toward more of a user-pay cost-recovery system that would be untenable for the users.
“People can’t afford it. We are still struggling to cope with the 50% rise over the last nine years,” he said.
“The Northumberland Manufacturing Association will tell you all about Global Adjustment charges they have to pay. Sometimes they can be three times as much as the hydro bill,” he said, referring to one local company that recently had to pay a monthly hydro bill of $19,000 plus a $68,000 Global Adjustment surcharge.
“Add another 40% on top of that, and it’s goodbye factory, goodbye jobs, goodbye economy. That’s not fear-mongering. That’s just realistic.”
When the Ombudsman contacts him, Macmillan intends to point out that the story doesn’t begin and end with Hydro One. The other pieces of the puzzle, like OPG and everyone responsible for making the price of this service as high as it is, should be looked at.
While the front-line men and women do a wonderful job, especially in this terrible weather, Macmillan said, “I am talking about senior management. We have heard about huge settlements and bonuses for senior people who are leaving — I’m sick of paying for it. It’s time for it to stop.
“I will be having that exact conversation with the Ombudsman, should he contact me.”