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Aug. 3, 2020 | Monday
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NOTL Hydro backs province's electricity reforms
NOTL Hydro said it supports some provincial electricity changes. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Niagara-on-the-Lake residents won’t be affected much by the proposed provincial electricity changes, says NOTL Hydro’s president.

On March 21, Energy Minister Greg Rickford announced a series of plans to lower electricity costs for customers.

Some of these reforms will be implemented through Bill 97, also known as the Fixing the Hydro Mess Act, 2019.

If passed, the government says some of the changes would reform the governance of the Ontario Energy Board, make electricity bills and any rebates more transparent, start consultations on reducing electricity costs for businesses and deliver conservation programs through a centralized Independent Electricity System Operator as opposed to local distribution companies.

By centralizing and refocusing the delivery of conservation programs, the government is hoping to save up to $442 million over the next three years.

Tim Curtis, NOTL Hydro’s president, said the local utility has been concerned with increasing electricity costs and government policies for a long time.

“This announcement is doing what a lot of our recommendations were calling for,” Curtis told The Lake Report.

The reforms’ effect on NOTL residents will be minor, he said.

“The main savings are from doing away with a lot of conservation programs,” he said. “Most people won’t even see the impact. There will be a small reduction in the electricity charge ... And there will be some businesses affected by these programs no longer available but Niagara-on-the-Lake businesses, we worked closely with, they’ve been able to take advantage of these opportunities,” said Curtis.

“So the fact that the conservation is going away now, most of Niagara businesses have already taken advantage of the programs.”