Timmins Chamber fights for lower energy prices in Ontario


Date:  5/8/2013
ArticleType:  Press Release

TIMMINS, May 8, 2013—As soaring energy prices continue to be a major concern for local businesses, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is taking action to push the province for change.

At the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) annual general meeting on May 2-5, the Timmins Chamber successfully fought for the support of the province’s biggest business advocacy group on the issue of reducing energy costs and improving energy infrastructure.

Hosted in Chatham-Kent, the event saw more than 100 delegates -- representing more than 60,000 Ontario businesses -- debating policies put forward by Chambers from around the province to determine the OCC’s top priorities. Timmins Chamber President Art Pultz and 1st Vice-President Phil Barton were on hand to successfully lobby those delegates to include Timmins’ request for energy price reductions among those priorities.

“Timmins businesses know all too well the considerable challenges posed by energy prices in this province, which are some of the most expensive in North America,” said Pultz.
“With costs expected to rise in the coming years, our members asked us to begin advocating for action on their behalf, and that’s precisely what this win represents. The adoption of our policies at the OCC is a sign of its significance to all businesses in Ontario, and it’s an incredibly important first step in making a difference on this issue.”

Having adopted Timmins’ energy policies, the OCC will use those ideas as part of its tireless advocacy efforts to insist the provincial government provide businesses with much-needed energy price relief.

These policies were crafted by the Timmins Chamber’s Government Regulation and Policy Committee following extensive consultation with area businesses, which repeatedly identified energy as one of their top three challenges. This resulted in the creation of three sets of recommendations for the Ontario government to help make the province’s energy costs and capacity more competitive for businesses and communities alike.

These recommendations include creating a plan to reduce energy prices over the long term, while putting in place cost-saving programs for the short term. To make sure these plans can be adequately carried out, the province must also invest in upgrading electrical transmission infrastructure. The Timmins Chamber’s recommendations, as now adopted by the OCC, also include a request for clarity around the costs of the system and the Global Adjustment Fund.

To strengthen these policies and build a broad level of support on energy issues, the Timmins Chamber has worked for several months to create partnerships with like-minded Chambers across the province, including the Prince Edward County, Quinte West, and Windsor-Essex Chambers, as well as the Mississauga Board of Trade. These connections provided some crucial assistance on the debate floor at the OCC annual general meeting, while demonstrating that energy prices are a province-wide problem.

“Our partners were invaluable in helping to move these policies forward, which proves that this crucial issue speaks to basic business competitiveness in this province,” said Pultz. “We’re certainly proud of representing our members’ views with this initial achievement, but now that we have the full support of the Ontario Chamber network and its 60,000 businesses, we certainly look forward to working with them and the provincial government to bring about meaningful change on energy.”

To view the full versions of the policies that will now be championed by the OCC, please click here


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About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce
With over 800 members, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest accredited chambers of commerce with distinction in northeastern Ontario. As the “Voice of Business in Timmins” since 1949, our advocacy and policy initiatives focus on ensuring a positive business climate in the City of Timmins.


Contact:
Nick Stewart
Policy and Communications Director
Timmins Chamber of Commerce
(705) 360-1900
policy@timminschamber.on.ca