C.D. Howe Institute slams electricity policy

Sept. 25, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – Another independent source has confirmed Opposition claims that Ontario’s electrical policy is on the wrong track.

The C.D. Howe Institute released “A New Blueprint for Ontario’s Electricity Market” on Sept. 18. Some of the highlights are:
* The Ontario power sector today has oversupply, a mismatch of generator capabilities and needs, rising prices to final consumers, a lack of transparency in prices, and volatile and contradictory policies
* The government’s failure to implement either sound planning or rely on market principles has meant that Ontarians are not getting electricity at the lowest possible cost
* Projections suggest that Ontario ratepayers will be paying substantially higher electricity bills over the next decade than if the provincial electricity system had instead relied on natural gas turbine electricity generation
* Ontario’s FIT program will increase generation and transmission costs, further hiking electricity prices

“Many people have noticed an increase in their last electricity bill,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “Not only do higher electricity prices leave residents with less expendable income, it discourages investment by business and industry.”

The C.D. Howe report stated Ontario’s power sector investment and planning is “inefficient, expensive and unsustainable”.

“Ontario’s electrical planning has been based on politics, not economics,” Barrett said. “Cancelling coal and two natural gas power plants result in all of us paying more on our already-skyrocketing electrical bills.”

The report put much of the blame for Ontario’s spiking energy prices over the last few years, mainly on the subsidization of renewable energy within the Green Energy Act. The report projects that ratepayers will be required to pay over $370 million/year to cover FIT contacts. It also revealed that provisions of the Green Energy Act and an incredible 66 ministerial directives have overridden the much-touted Long-Term Energy Plan.

“This report backs up everything that the PC’s have been saying since the Green Energy Act was introduced,” said Opposition Deputy Energy Critic Lisa Thompson. “It’s these on-the-fly policies and directives issued by the Liberal government that are causing instability in the market, energy rates to skyrocket, and investors to reconsider Ontario as their home.”

The report also indicated a bigger role for natural gas could have resulted in both lower emissions and lower prices.

“This hits home locally with the pending closure of the Nanticoke Generating Station,” Barrett said. “If it had been repowered with natural gas or biomass, the riding wouldn’t see the loss of hundreds of jobs. Those jobs translate into money spent in the riding which can have a ripple effect to the tune of millions of dollars.

“On top of this, the inefficiency of not using all the power lines going into Nanticoke also costs the end electricity consumer through the cost of building new infrastructure.”

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For more information, contact
MPP Toby Barrett at 1-800-903-8629 or 519-428-0446