Some Essex County greenhouse operators disappointed with hydro relief plan
Some Essex County greenhouse operators are expressing disappointment following Kathleen Wynne's announcement of a hydro relief plan.
Some growers say it doesn't provide much relief for them and it could curb future expansion.
As CTV News reported Thursday, Kathleen Wynne's hydro relief plan promises a reduction of 25 per cent in the hydro bill of those living in cities and up to 53 per cent for those in rural areas.
But for large electricity consumers in the greenhouse industry, the reduction may not be enough.
Pete Quiring, CEO of Leamington's Nature Fresh Farms says soaring power prices is just one of the reasons why they recently expanded into Ohio.
“We're kicking the can, further down the road, with interest,” says Quiring.
Energy analysts wonder if the Wynne government's new plan to slash hydro prices will stop the exodus.
The Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers say it's too early to tell, but Justine Taylor fears hydro prices will almost certainly scare growers from investing in facilities with light.
“Right now cucumbers are available 12 months of the year, but right now, peppers and tomatoes, without lights have to take a short break in the January to February timeline, so the installation of lights would allow growers to produce 12 months of the year,” says Taylor.
Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos says the Wynne plan is a good start, but says what the greenhouse industry needs more than anything else, is stability.
“When you see these incremental costs, almost every three months, is not something in any business plan would have ever imagined and that’s what is starting to really impact the economy in our region,” says Santos.
Quiring says the greenhouse industry can help fix Ontario's power problem
“We're producing all winter long, the greenhouse industry can provide fantastic, off-peak power load, when there’s very little out there,” says Quiring.