Published on: 12/14/2012 3:35:25 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

McGuinty government wants to extend big industry power breaks

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

Major industry and the large job generators in Northern Ontario could get an extend break on their power rates next spring.

The McGuinty government wants to extend the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) for an additional three years, starting in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The government lauded the benefits of the program at press conferences across the North, Dec. 14.

In Sault Ste. Marie, MPP David Orazietti said the program has delivered a combined $41.4 million in savings to Essar Steel Algoma, Tenaris Tubes and Flakeboard Company.

Orazietti said “the province's electricity cost saving measures are helping our large local companies maintain their competitive advantage” while protecting thousands of jobs.

Companies participating in the program get a rebate of two cents per kilowatt hour, with individual rebates capped at 2011-12 consumption levels or $20 million per year, per company, whichever is lower.

The McGuinty government said the extension would offer $120 million per year over three years for a total investment of $360 million. The program supports 24 operations in mining and forestry that employ close to 16,000 workers.

Established in 2010, the NIER program is up for funding renewal next March. It's geared toward company operations that consume 50,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

In the northwest, companies involved in the program include Barrick Gold's Hemlo mine complex, Resolute Forest Products mills in Thunder Bay and Fort Frances, North American Palladium's Lac des Iles mine, Kenora's Weyerhaeuser mill, the Domtar mill in Dryden, Goldcorp mine operations in Red Lake and Pickle Lake and Ainsworth mill in Barwick.

Northern Development and Mines Minister, Sudbury MPP, Rick Bartolucci was to make a similar pitch at a press conference in his riding involving the city's two major mining companies, Vale and Xstrata Nickel.

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