BY GARY MACKAY
In a letter to the Summerside Journal-Pioneer, Paula Biggar, P.E.I.’s energy minister, stated there would be no impact on electricity rates due to the province’s carbon tax plan. She also assured Islanders every single cent in carbon tax collected on gasoline would be returned to Islanders.
Ottawa imposed the full federal price of their carbon tax on New Brunswick since that province did not implement a carbon tax acceptable to the federal government. New Brunswick will pay $20/tonne in 2019 and max out at $50/tonne in 2022.
Maritime Electric (ME) and NB Power- (the supplier of ME’s power) - two electrical giants, are not going to absorb one red cent of any carbon tax. They will pass their costs onto customers as they always have.
Only 40 to 50 percent of a customer’s bill is the actual electricity costs and is non-negotiable. The rest is for delivery costs, customer services, billing and energy taxes and marketing costs.
As for the Liberals assuring Islanders about the return of monies owed to us by ME, when Wes Sheridan was energy minister, the Liberals had a contingency fund worth $21 million set aside that originated from ME overcharging customers. This money was to be returned to customers.
However, the Ghiz government rolled these funds into the Energy Accord and made them magically disappear. So much for monies being returned to taxpayers.
The federal government, with all of its experts, has been unable to tell Canadians by how much Canada’s emissions will be reduced under a $50/tonne carbon tax. Yet in a recent statement, Ms. Biggar was able to tell Islanders that the P.E.I. government’s efficiency programs have reduced CO2 emissions by 25,000 tonnes. Really?
Islanders have paid dearly for the agreements that government has made with ME. In the recent past, ME reduced rates for their customers. However, in the next budget they presented, our rates were dramatically increased. Now, again, we are receiving a 10 per cent discount on the first block of electricity. Will history repeat itself and in the next budget submitted to government, will our rates again be dramatically increased?
The bill will come due. We will pay.
- Gary A. O. MacKay, Birch Hill, frequently comments on P.E.I. social and political issues