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Let Those Hydro Rates Soar

by Mike Nickerson
December 2, 2002

Just when I started getting used to deregulation, Ernie Eves goes and freezes hydro rates.

What was the man thinking? Sure, he was looking at getting booted out of office faster than a drunken sophomore from the Brunswick, but all deregulation needed was a little time for people to adapt. I was really getting into the whole thing.

For one, I don't think I've slept better in years, because as any resident of the downtown core knows, there is no such thing as nighttime, only a slightly dimmer version of daylight depending on which ads City TV is running on any of the three thousand electronic billboards that pepper the city. Up until now, a good night's sleep required eyeshades, carefully positioned pillows, and three coats of black window paint to keep at least some of the city's fifteen megawatt glare from searing my eyes. But some people actually started turning off their lights! Office towers dimmed, condos went dark, and it was only a matter of time before The Bay was forced to switch off that damn logo of theirs before they went bankrupt paying for the nuclear reactor required to keep it running.

And while everyone was popping their circuit breakers trying to keep cool this past summer, I tried to take a page from the book of carpooling and did what I like to call "air-condition pool." It made for a very social summer, staying with friends and family, cool and content while their power meters whirred like eggbeaters. Given that I also ate their food, and made ample use of their hundred free hours of Internet usage looking at dirty pictures, you could say that I was the picture of personal conservation and financial frugality. I've got cousins that I've never seen before penciled in for next year, all carefully ranked as to their BTU capacity. I don't have the heart to tell them I'm not coming

But where I feel really gypped by Mr. "I'm not Mike Harris" is when it comes to Christmas. Call me Scrooge, but the annual suburban Christmas light competition was going to take a serious hit this year, and about bloody time, too. First it was who could get their lights on the highest tree, then whose were brighter, more colourful, and then it was blinking fluorescent snowmen, and finally the icicle light craze. Given that I don't live in the suburbs, this shouldn't be such a big deal, except everyone I know does, and they all insist on taking me for a tour of the neighbourhood like some sort of roving band of wayward skating judges handing out fives and sixes to all the displays. One of these years someone is going to discover the wonders of Xenon searchlights, and before you know it every suburban house in North America is going to look like they're hosting a personal Academy Awards Christmas Gala

It's not like it was that much of a hardship to save the odd kilowatt here and there. A few candles, perhaps a jury-rigged Exercycle to run the toaster. The cold morning showers not only helped me cut back on power, but water too. I never thought it possible to wash an entire adult body, behind the ears and all, in fewer than 30 seconds until deregulation. I haven't watched TV in months. George Bush who? And people wonder why I seem so wide awake and happy

Ernie Eves has turned his back on it all, frozen rates yet again, dooming us all to the megawatt buzz of every home convenience and luxury that modern industry can supply. How many more live simulcast specials of Britney Spears in the Netherlands, complete with simulated surround sound, wide screen format, and automated theater style popcorn on demand do we need? Does your teenage daughter really have to soak in the shower for five hours, draining not only the hot water tank, but your sanity? When was the last time you wanted to shove that Sega System up your son's nose?

The Common Sense Revolution is not over, Ernie!

Drive those rates through the roof! Who cares if Pickering won't be online until the year 2340? Seize the moment, Mr. Eves, because sooner or later, we're all going to finally pay, and all the generators in the world won't keep the great economic engine of Ontario running ahead of its own shadow.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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