The biggest shock is Ontario's Progressive Conservative's continued connections with door-to-door fixed price energy contract "scams"
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I bet you're mad about the Ontario Liberal Party's Gas-fire Power plant Scandal. You certainly have a right to be. This is not the only scandal in Ontario involving gas or electricity. There is another which involves the Progressive Conservative Party. What you may not know is that this very party lead under Mike Harris and Ernie Eves de-regulated the energy sector during their time in office.
Have you ever gotten a knock at your door from a representative of an energy reseller such as Universal Energy or Just Energy? They want you to sign up for fixed rate contracts. Does this sound familiar? In fact many people still believe that fixed rate energy deals like this are some kind of illegal scam. In fact they are not illegal at all because Harris and Eves passed laws which allow third party companies to make contracts with the consumer and your local utility is required to honour the deal by co-operating with it. Do you remember agents like this coming around before Harris? If you find the price that you signed up for far greater than the market price, even after you've been on it for years, there is no legal recourse that will allow you to renege without paying a cancellation fee.
The business plan is called commodity brokering. Companies claim that they buy gas and hydro from the spot market in bulk, at times that its cheapest, natural gas in the summer for instance. Then they sell it back to the consumer at a fixed price. Because natural gas is expensive in the winter, in theory they will be able to sell it back to the consumer for more than the original purchase price but less than the current market price. Thus they can save you money while turning a profit. It all makes sense right?
The argument is logical. Nevertheless many consumers who have signed up for these contracts since the time they were first offered have found that in the long run they lost money, often to the tune of thousands. Where is this money going?
Frank Klees, retired Progressive Conservative MPP for Newmarket-Aurora is the guy that came in second to Hudak in the last provincial leadership race. He is was high profile Tory who held cabinet positions under Harris. The owner of Universal Energy Alternatives underwrote one fifth of his entire campaign with a donation of $34K. Not only did Universal give Klees a big donation, they also gave him a seat on their board of directors. When Universal Energy was sold to Just Energy, they gave him a seat on the board there too. In other words if you want to vote for the guy that comes to your door to sign you up for a price protection plan then the Progressive Conservative Party is who you should pick on your ballot!
36:2 Bill 35, Energy Competition Act, 1998
Watching the detectives — Andrew Steele — The Globe and Mail — June 1, 2009
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