Energy Rates on the Rise

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Have you checked your Hydro bills lately? Electricity rates are rising in alarming proportions. Even if you are locked into a long term contract, you will not escape the sharp energy increases. In a recent article in the Toronto Star, John Spears reported that for homes equipped with the new “Smart Meters”, prices will increase by an average of 9.5% starting May 1, 2010. However, for most  families that are careful to use much of their electricity in off peak times, the increase will be from 4.4 cents/kwh to 5.8 cents/kwh, an increase of a whopping 25%. This is just the beginning of our increases. Recently, Bill 150 The Green Energy Act (GEA) passed by the Ontario Government on May 14, 2009, paved the way for our electricity rates to increase to 25 cents/kw/h within the next 5 years. This is further aggravated by the new HST which will add an additional 8% to your bill starting July 1, 2010. Based on an average frum family who currently pays around $3,600/year, the current increase will bring their bill up to $5,184/year, an increase of $1,584/year. Once all the increases due to the GEA and the HST materialize, the average frum family can expect to pay close to $21,600/year in electricity. These drastic increases highlight the need to ensure that our homes are as energy efficient as possible. While changing our energy consumption habits and changing our light bulbs will help a bit, the greatest consumers of energy in our homes are our heating and air conditioning systems.  New high efficiency equipment is our most effective defense against these sharp increases in energy costs. This is particularly relevant to  families who do not set back their temperature during the day because someone is always home.

For the last number of years, the Federal and Provincial governments were offering significant rebates through the Eco Energy Rebate for people who replace their heating and air conditioning equipment with high efficiency equipment in order to encourage energy conservation. It is no coincidence that the Federal government abruptly ended the Eco Energy Rebate just as our electricity rates soared. Now people will upgrade their equipment just to avoid sharp increases in their electricity bill. Fortunately, the Provincial rebate will remain to assist people in upgrading. However, we do not know when the Province might abruptly end their program. It would be prudent for all families to upgrade their equipment now, while provincial funding is still available.

Please see the news release from the government of Ontario regarding the Eco Energy Rebates on the sidebar.

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