NDP: Dishonestly claimed hydro money must be paid back in full

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QUEEN’S PARK – The NDP is demanding that every dollar of the $260 million apparently fraudulently claimed by power producers and paid out by Liberal government regulators be returned to the people of Ontario.

On Tuesday, Ontario families were finally told about a private gas plant in Brampton that was paid over $100 million dollars in ‘inappropriate claims’. On Wednesday, the Auditor General’s 2017 report showed that there are eight other power producers gaming the Liberal electricity system in similar ways – at a cost of $260 million to the people of the province, which may be just the tip of the iceberg.

So far, only $168 million has been recovered. NDP Finance critic John Vanthof questioned the Wynne Liberals Thursday in question period.                                                                      

“People are being squeezed in Ontario. Hydro rates have gone up 300 per cent under the Liberals and some families are even being forced to choose whether to keep the lights on, or put food on the table,” said Vanthof.

“Why is this government allowing private power companies to take advantage of hard working families who are already struggling?”

In addition to the $260 million in apparently fraudulent expenses, the AG found other instances of inappropriate claims being paid by government regulators. The Liberal government is overpaying gas generators by more than $30 million per year, and in just one summer, shelled out an additional $20 million to another company under the Lost Profit Recovery program.

“From the privatization of power generation by the Conservatives to the sell-off of Hydro One by Kathleen Wynne, the system is now set up to turn everyday Ontario families into a cash cow for private energy corporations,” said Vanthof.

Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats have released a detailed hydro plan that would require the electricity system to work in favour of Ontario families. It includes bringing Hydro One back into public hands to lower bills, and keep them down. In their recently announced election platform, the Patrick Brown and the Conservatives make it clear that the Conservative plan is to stand behind Wynne’s disastrous privatization and $40 billion Liberal borrowing scheme.

“Only New Democrats are ready to fix this problem and bring down hydro bills for Ontario families and businesses,” said Vanthof. “Patrick Brown and Kathleen Wynne are in lock-step on hydro, and their plan puts the squeeze on families. The NDP plan is different. It offers hope that things will get easier for families.”