Ontario Energy Board refuses auditor's call to clarify global adjustment on hydro bills

TORONTO _ The Ontario Energy Board is rejecting a call from the province’s auditor general to clarify the so-called global adjustment charge on electricity bills.

The global adjustment is levied to cover the gap between the guaranteed prices the Liberal government gave electricity generators and actual market rates, and accounted for about 70 per cent of consumer rates in 2013.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk recommended that hydro bills be changed to separately disclose the components of pricing _ the electricity market price and the global adjustment.

Lysyk said those changes would make the impact of the global adjustment charge more transparent to electricity ratepayers.

However, the energy board says breaking down the global adjustment would not clarify prices for consumers and would likely create more confusion.

The board recently dismissed calls to add a line on natural gas bills showing the cost of the Liberals’ cap-and-trade plan to fight climate change, which is expected to add $5 a month to home heating bills when it starts Jan. 1.

The auditor general commissioned a survey that found 89 per cent of natural gas ratepayers want the cap-and-trade costs clearly displayed, but the government says it won’t overrule the board’s decision.