NDP MPPs from Northern Ontario are renewing calls for the immediate creation of an Ontario industrial hydro rate after Xstrata announced 700 permanent layoffs in the Sudbury area.
“An industrial hydro rate ensures reasonable, stable energy costs. It would allow Xstrata, and companies like it, to sustain jobs during rough patches when mineral prices are low,” said Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson.
“Xstrata runs a substantial smelting process that is efficient but energy intensive,” he noted. “An industrial hydro rate would go a long way toward making their operation more competitive in this difficult economic climate.”
“Sudbury residents are worried and want to see bold, aggressive action to stem further job losses,” echoed Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas said. “Northern communities can’t afford to wait any longer.”
New Democrats have long advocated an industrial hydro rate of $45 per megawatt hour to protect Ontario’s resource sector jobs. The province’s current rate is more than double what it is in neighbouring Manitoba.
In exchange for a lower industrial hydro rate, companies would be required to provide job guarantees or invest in energy-efficiency measures.