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Kathleen Wynne speaks in Toronto on Dec.12, 2016.MARK BLINCH/Reuters

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is planning to cut electricity rates by 17 per cent this year.

The move is expected to be approved by Wynne's cabinet today. An announcement could come as soon as Thursday.

The reduction would be on top of the eight-per-cent rebate on the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax that kicked in this year.

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The proposed cut was first reported by the Toronto Star. Sources told the newspaper the Liberals intend to slash soaring hydro bills largely by "smoothing out" the financing costs of electricity generation contracts over longer periods.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says the plan would just shift costs from hydro bills to tax bills.

He asked Finance Minister Charles Sousa in question period if that means taxes are going to go up, and Sousa responded by saying the government is balancing the budget.

Wynne, whose government faces no bigger political issue at the moment than hydro bills, has promised further relief for ratepayers ahead of the spring budget.

With files from Canadian Press

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