Each hydro bill I recieve a 10% discount, like everyone else, even though it serves no purpose. This month the Government of Ontario added $10.80 to the debt just for me even though "helping" me changes absolutely nothing in my household. I'm lucky to not be on the financial edge. I can't afford trips south in the winter or many other discretionary things, but housing, food, clothes, recreation and extra curriculars for my daughter are taken care of. This "help" is less than what I spend on coffee a month - making it a total joke.
My message is: Ontario Government, why are you wasting this money on me? Why are you buying my morning coffee?
The answer is populist politics of course. Just like the NDP promising to magically cut 15% off insurance rates (though you can do that for yourself already), and the PC promise to cut electricity bills by shifting the nuclear debt onto general debt (and paying for it - or just the interest - with income taxes instead), the Liberals know that any program that "helps people with their bills" is popular.
Who doesn't like lower bills, aside from nutty Greens like me?
The "clean energy benefit" rebate annoys me, so each bill I donate its equivalent, and then some, to a worthy cause. This month I've chosen the Ottawa Food Bank because there are people who do go hungry each month. They are on the financial edge. If the Ontario Government sent my $10 to them it would buy food, or clothes, or pay rent. That would be progressive.
When you open your next hydro bill, add up the "Ontario Clean Energy Benefit" line items (there are two) and ask yourself if the $5 to $20 means anything to you. If it feels inconsequential congratulations, you are somewhere in the middle class. If you have kids, thank them for sacrificing their future healthcare budget because they'll be paying interest charges instead - all so we could enjoy a cheap energy fiction today.
And if you know someone who is on the financial edge, think what your portion of the CEB would mean to them, and perhaps send your CEB to the Ottawa Food Bank.
The Ottawa Food Bank supports approximately 48,000 people each month, nearly half of whom are children, through 140 emergency food programs throughout the Ottawa Region.
Here's the running tally since I started this little project. Stay tuned for the April 2013 edition.
|Ottawa Food Bank||$10.80||Feb, 2013|
|Daybreak Housing||$7.31||Dec, 2012|
|Christie Lake Kids||$6.96||Oct, 2012|
|Causeway Work Centre||$11.49||Aug, 2012|