Hydro cost complaint to Kathleen Wynne sparks online uproar

Hydro cost complaint to Kathleen Wynne sparks online uproar

One woman's plea for the Ontario government to give people a break on hydro rates has resonated with thousands of people.

Libby Keenan, who operates Sunhall Equestrian Center in Amherstburg, Ont., has seen her hydro rates skyrocket. Her latest bill was nearly $600, compared to the $140 she paid several years ago.

In an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne, which was posted to Facebook, Keenan candidly shared her frustrations with taxes, tolls, government fees and hydro.

"I work hard, seven days a week," she wrote. "I live exceptionally frugally, I have spent 30 years paying off a mortgage on a beautiful farm I can barely afford to keep. My heating and hydro costs are much higher per month than my mortgage."

Her post has been shared more than 20,000 times and has drawn nearly 3,000 comments. 

"I was a little surprised, then I was a little overwhelmed," Keenan said about the popularity of her letter. 

Keenan was also taken back by the number of women her age that had similar stories about struggling to pay their hydro bills. Dozens of women between the ages of 58 and 69 reached out to Keenan, sharing their experience.

Before the overwhelming response to her letter, Keenan felt a level of shame as she realized she was slowly moving out of the middle class to being more poverty stricken. 

"What I realized is how many people in this province are going through the very same thing," she said. "I felt much less alone, for one thing."

Keenan has dug into her savings to help pay her bills, saying she is close to being "one car repair or one mechanical breakdown" away from closing down her business.

She says the province should do more to help people when it comes to hydro. 

"I'm not costing you a penny right now, but if I give up and go in the welfare line, then you'll be looking after me," she said. "I don't know why they would try to put people in a position where they can't afford to keep going because they're going to have to carry them anyway."