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Why are energy prices going up this summer? We're to blame

Last Updated Apr 15, 2016 at 9:13 pm EDT

The math doesn’t seem to add up.

Despite a mild winter which saw Ontarians conserve electricity, hydro rates are set to increase next month because we saved too much energy.

It defies logic but that’s the reason given by the Ontario Energy Board for the 2.5 per cent increase announced on Thursday. And it seems no matter how much we save, more rate hikes are likely on the horizon according to one energy expert.

“Conservation drives higher rates,” said electricity expert Tom Adams, who says the weather plays no role in the cost of hydro.

“Cold winters, rates go up. Warm winters, rates go up.”

But a spokesperson with the Ontario Energy Board, the group that sets the rate, says it has set costs that need to be covered.

“This winter was milder than expected, we consumed less electricity and collected lower revenues than forcast. So this time we have to make up for the difference,” said Ceiran Bishop, manager for electricity rates and prices.

“The RPP (Regulated Price Plan) is set to recover the forcast over time.”

Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, has taken aim at energy prices in the past, saying we’ve been paying three-times the market price for electricity in the province.

The Minister of Energy’s office released a statement, saying the price adjustments announced by the OEB help fund infrastructure investments that support a reliable, clean and high functioning system.

Critics call that a lame excuse which may have held weight five years ago but not today.

“We’re giving away unprecedented amounts of power to utilities in Michigan and New York,” said Adams. “We’re paying unprecedented amounts to generators here in Ontario to NOT generate power. Those are major factors underneath these rate increases.”

The average electricity bill has gone up nine per cent year-over-year or about $10 for the average house.