January 15, 2016
Electricity rates are a key factor in keeping the province’s firms competitive in a global economy. Unfortunately, over the past three years, 85 per cent of Ontario’s small and medium-sized businesses have seen hydro rates skyrocket, despite level consumption and having implemented energy-efficient measures to control costs.

Nearly 60 per cent of business owners say that they have had to raise prices to cope with higher electricity bills, while nearly half have had to reduce investments in the business. Only 10 per cent say their energy consumption has increased over the same time period.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce issued a report entitled, Empowering Ontario: Constraining Costs and Staying Competitive in the Electricity Market. The report stated soaring electricity prices would cause one in 20 Ontario businesses to shut their doors within the next five years.

This year the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) called on the Ontario government to address the electricity troubles facing the province and to better align energy policy with the needs of small business.
CFIB recommends that the government help small businesses by enacting the following:
  • Review total compensation levels and cap the executive compensation (including salaries, benefits and pensions) of all public sector entities in the electricity sector.
  • Provide small businesses with short-term relief from mounting energy prices by accelerating the elimination of the Debt Retirement Charge, removing the HST from energy bills and extending the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit past its expiry date to offset rising costs.
  • Implement a rate system that does not penalize small businesses for not being able to shift their usage to low-peak periods.
  • Better manage supply and demand to ensure small businesses and Ontarians are not paying other jurisdictions to take unused electricity.