Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday December 15, 2016
“I failed my kids”: An Ontario mom’s story on soaring hydro
When Cambridge mother Adele Benoit sees an electricity bill in her mailbox it is a reminder of the constant sacrifices her family must make.
Fearing the worst, she will often open the envelope slowly, unfold the bill and hold her breath.
“Then you see the amount due on the bill,” she said.
That statement’s final tally has been skyrocketing steadily, she explained, rising to amounts of more than $600 every two months. Not so long ago her hydro bills were half that amount.
It’s a tough haul for a mother of three boys, aged 16, nine and seven, who takes care of her family in a modest Cambridge Housing Authority affordable unit.
With little choice but to pay that bill, Benoit is forced to ask her children to accept less than she knows they deserve. At this time of year that means fewer Christmas gifts and even limiting the time the family’s tree is lit.
“Our Christmas tree gets lit up for an hour and a half or two hours, and then I shut it off.”
Though she is employed, her paycheques are no match against rising household costs like electricity. She has even borrowed money to buy winter coats and hats for her sons. The struggle is not an easy one to share.
“It makes me feel like I failed my kids,” she said.
Though in tears at times when describing her family’s financial troubles, Benoit shared her story with Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath while sitting together at her kitchen table Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 13).
Horwath is on a tour meeting with residents about the rising costs of electricity as part of a bid to force the provincial Liberal government to make hydro more affordable and to “humanize” public policy around energy.
Horwath is also aiming to generate more support to block Premier Kathleen Wynne and the government from further privatizing Hydro One.
Using Quebec and Manitoba as examples, Horwath said other provinces are keeping energy rates down and are not privatizing, ensuring their electricity systems are about people, not profit.
In Ontario, she said, it’s private companies that are reaping the benefits. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)