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CBC: Hydro Rebates May Not Go Far Enough

September 12, 2016

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Posted: Sep 12, 2016 1:36 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 12, 2016 7:42 PM ET (Meg Roberts/CBC)

The province’s plan to offer hydro rebates to thousands of cash-strapped customers was not received with much fanfare Monday.

The Ontario government announced in its throne speech a plan to remove the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax from hydro bills, potentially saving hundreds of dollars a year for residents and businesses.

There is hope among Windsor’s small business owners that the eliminating of the province’s portion of the HST will help them with their bottom lines. But places like the Downtown Mission will continue to suffer, while several residents said the gesture is not enough to make a considerable difference.

“It might help a little, but that’s probably too little too late,” said Gillian Fraser, who lives in the city’s east end. “Any little bit will help, obviously, but I don’t think that’s enough.”

Political backlash

Southwestern Ontario politicians slammed the government’s plans to give hydro rebates.

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky says offering a rebate equal to that of Ontario’s portion of the HST is a start, but it does not go far enough.

“An eight per cent rebate is something, but it’s not enough,” she said. “It’s a good first step because people shouldn’t have been paying HST on their bills to begin with, but It’s not enough to really provide relief.”

Gretzky says the NDP will continue to push for further rate reductions. She has collected hundreds of hydro bills from people in Windsor and she plans to deliver them to Premiere Kathleen Wynne and the Minister of Energy on Tuesday.

Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls says there needs to be more transparency on utility bills. He knows of some residents who pay more for delivery charges then hydro itself and he says people need to know why.

More reductions needed

Eliminating Ontario’s portion of the HST will be a big help to small businesses, but this is just one step in the right direction, according to the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Read the full article here: CBC News, “Hydro rebates may not go far enough”. Written by: Meg Roberts