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Increase in Electricity Rates Just One Part of Affordability Concerns
Brazil said, “The recent decision of the Public Utilities Board to grant a 6.4% increase in electricity rates to ratepayers on the island portion of the province is just one of the increasing cost pressures people have to face.”
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition 

For Immediate Release

 

St. John’s, NL (September 26, 2019) – David Brazil, PC Critic for Natural Resources, is expressing concerns about the cost of living in our province, which just rose higher with a decision to approve an electricity rate increase.

Brazil said, “The recent decision of the Public Utilities Board to grant a 6.4% increase in electricity rates to ratepayers on the island portion of the province is just one of the increasing cost pressures people have to face.”

Brazil alluded to comments made by the Seniors’ Advocate in her recent report, where she notes: “Many seniors, especially those in low income, are worried about the increasing cost of electricity.  They simply cannot afford increases and although assurances have been given that mitigation will occur, seniors are not convinced this is possible and seek clearer explanations. Some seniors are interested in programs that help them lower their electricity use such as energy efficient lights and heat pumps; however purchasing up front (even with a plan to pay off over time) is a burden for an older adult on a fixed income.

Brazil said, “Instead of making life more affordable for seniors and others, the Ball Liberals have added over 300 taxes and fees, making it too expensive for many to make ends meet. People in this province have to make tough choices about how they spend their hard-earned money. People are getting more and more concerned about the rising cost of living.”

The latest rate increase has nothing to do with Muskrat Falls. The Ball Liberals said they had a plan to prevent electricity rate increases – not only increases due to Muskrat Falls, but other increases as well. And they said they would get $200 million from Ottawa to pay for that. But Ottawa has never confirmed it will provide that money – and the Opposition is now wondering if $200 million would even be enough to do what they promised.

“The Ball Liberals say they have a rate mitigation plan, which will help reduce electricity rate increases, but they have yet to demonstrate support from the federal government. Without support from the federal government, the cost of living may continue to increase.”

“Rising oil prices are driving up Hydro’s costs and causing this latest rate spike, but rising oil should also be putting extra money in the government’s pocket. Why doesn’t the government give people a tax break so they can afford to live here? The money people save would circulate in the economy, creating more of the jobs we desperately need.”

 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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