finance minister claims he could be worse

a primer for yesterday’s News Release from Ontario’s Ministry of Finance

The Office of the Auditor General of Ontario reported on the Ontario government’s flippant disinterest in accounting for the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) in its 2011 Annual Report:

Given that the DRC has been collected from electricity consumers for almost a decade and that more than $8 billion in DRC revenue has been collected during that time, our view is that the Minister should make a formal determination of the outstanding amount of the residual stranded debt in the near future and make this determination public.

Subsequently, the Ontario budget of 2012 included a section on the Residual Stranded Debt – which the DRC was introduced to retire:

residual stranded debt is estimated to be $5.8 billion as at March 31, 2011… the residual stranded debt is estimated to be $4.5 billion as at March 31, 2012. Residual stranded debt is estimated to further decline to $3.6 billion as at March 31, 2013.

“$3.6 billion as at March 31, 2013”

The next budget knew less, reporting the $4.5 billion as of March 31, 2012, ignoring March 31, 2013 and preparing to extend the DRC as simply a tax with:

Residual stranded debt estimates are subject to uncertainty in forecasting future dedicated revenues to OEFC, which depend on the financial performance of Ontario Power Generation Inc., Hydro One Inc. and …

Two years after estimating the residual stranded debt as “$3.6 billion as at March 31, 2013” the government was claiming $3.9 billion  as at that date and hadn’t a f’in clue as to what the future looked like because of vote purchasing actions they were taking on residential bills – but they knew when that future ended:

The government is proposing to remove the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) cost from residential users’ electricity bills. Removing the DRC cost for residential electricity users would save a typical residential user about $70 per year…

…current projections estimate that the residual stranded debt would be retired and the DRC would end in 2017–18. The estimated timing for residual stranded debt retirement along with the end of the DRC is subject to uncertainty in forecasting future dedicated revenues from the electricity sector. Revenues would depend on the financial performance of OPG, Hydro One …

Three budgets after “$3.6 billion as at March 31, 2013” the government’s budget finally provided a number as of March 31, 2014: $2.6 billion.

The math savvy, should there be any left in the province, might note $2.6 billion as a drop of $3.2 billion from the $5.8 billion reported exactly 3 years prior to March 31, 2014 – over a year and half ago.

The despicable Sousa introduced this phony premise in the 2015 budget:

…the government is moving forward with removing the DRC cost from residential electricity users’ electricity bills…

The charge will remain on all other electricity users’ bills until the residual stranded debt is retired — it is estimated this will occur by the end of 2018…

The estimated timing for residual stranded debt retirement is subject to uncertainty in forecasting future OEFC results and dedicated revenues to OEFC, which depend on the financial performance of Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One…

Like hell that’s what it depends on.

The same 2015 budget the Sousa phony pushed back the “estimated” end of the DRC showed interim year changes of $371″in-year” revenue increase, above expectations, from OPG and Hydro One.

The previous budget had upped the revenue $256 million.

The Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC) financials for the 2 years since “$3.6 billion as at March 31, 2013” show a record years for income exceeding expenses for the year ending March 31, 2014 ($1.476 billion) broken by a new record for the year ending March 31, 2015 ($1.596 billion). 2015 third quarter financial reports from OPG and Hydro one show that revenue trend didn’t change.

The Souse phony said the end of 2018 early in 2015 so he could now issue this news release:

As part of the Budget Measures Act, 2015, the government is proposing to remove the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) cost as of April 1, 2018 for all non-residential consumers – nine months earlier than previously estimated – and reduce businesses’ electricity bills.

Ontario’s dishonest finance minister has gone back to the arbitrary date from the 2014 budget which is chosen only to align with the electoral cycle (a claim for the 2018 campaign).

I have no idea how one is supposed to deal being treated the way Sousa treats the public in his communications.

Close our eyes and think of the Queen?

 

Addendum

The government’s bill 144 eliminates the “Residual Stranded Debt” – officially extending the Debt Retirement change as simply a tax on doing business in Ontario.

SCHEDULE 3
ELECTRICITY ACT, 1998

   1.  (1)  The heading immediately before section 85 of the Electricity Act, 1998 is amended by striking out “The Residual Stranded Debt and”.

   (2)  The definitions of “residual stranded debt” and “stranded debt” in subsection 85 (1) of the Act are repealed.

   (3)  Subsections 85 (2) and (3) of the Act are repealed.

the subsection in point (3)  are those requiring the Minister of Finance  to do what this post showed the asshat wasn’t doing anyway, and subjects the minister to the reporting they agreed to undertake only after the Auditor General noted their previous government’s inability to disclose any meaningful accounting.

(5)  Subsections 85 (6), (7) and (8) of the Act are repealed.

Those subsections required the Minister of Finance to notice when the debt was retired, and notify the people of that.

Now he’s free to keep eating and never notice another non-steak thing.

His constituents don’t.

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