Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

“We are very pleased with the success of these programs [encouraging a reduction in energy use], [however] costs don’t go away, but the revenue has gone down.”
"Blair Peberdy
Spokesman for Toronto Hydro-Electric

Peberdy’s quote follows an announcement that Toronto Hydro-Electric is looking to raise rates to compensate for a $10.4-million revenue decrease.

This decrease is partly due to Hydro’s successful energy reduction programs, which include offering a 10 per cent credit on customers’ bills if they cut electricity use by 10 per cent over two months.

Apparently, the program worked, and Hydro is scrambling to cover losses. I’m sure if customers were made aware their efforts to save energy were going to result in a rate hike after the 10 per cent credit, they wouldn’t have been so careful.

All levels of government claim to be doing as much as they can to help individuals and businesses become more efficient. However, it’s difficult to believe when they can’t keep energy costs low.

Raising customers’ costs after they’ve made a conscious effort to reduce energy use to save money will discourage this positive behaviour in the future. Until respect for the environment is enough incentive for people to cut back, Hydro will either have to demand government help or cover its losses by penalizing heavy users, not those trying to make a difference.

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