Q1 ratepayer pain: electricity export costs skyrocket

Ontario's electricity customers pay and pay and pay while neighbours get our power cheap
Ontario’s electricity customers pay and pay and pay while neighbours get our power cheap

Wind almost 40% of exported power; cost of surplus export $437 million in just 3 months

The first quarter of the current year indicates Ontario is exporting record quantities of surplus electricity.

It appears to be part of the Liberal government plan as this excerpt from Finance Minister Sousa’s budget “Building Ontario Up” claims:  “Through our four-part economic plan, we are supporting greater investment in productivity and innovation, providing a renewed focus on international exports, encouraging the transition to a low-carbon economy and creating more jobs for Ontarians.”

It would be better if our surplus electricity was exported profitably, instead of a cost to ratepayers, but alas, that is not the way the Liberal Energy Ministers past and present have structured the portfolio.

The first quarter of the current year saw Ontario export a record 6.65 TWh (terawatts) — that’s enough to power 690,000 average households for a full year.

Export costs up 75% in first quarter

The 6.65 TWh sold to our neighbours was up 75% from 3.81 TWh in 2014’s first quarter. We sold that surplus at prices well below what we received.  Exports represented 17.5 % of Ontario’s demand in 2015 versus 10% in the same period in 2014. Wind (generated and curtailed) in 2014 was 2.05 TWh and 53.7% of Ontario’s exports; in 2015, wind grew to 2.61 TWh and was 39.2 % of our exports.

The concept of exporting is one that economists encourage; however, they expect it will be profitable, create jobs, and not burden the rest of the economy though subsidization.  Subsidizing exports is often referred to as “dumping” and frequently challenged under the WTO (World Trade Organization) rules.

Cost to ratepayers is shocking

Examining the cost to Ontario ratepayers for the 3.81 TWh exported in 2014 and the 6.65 TWh exported in 2015 using data from the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) “Market Summaries” is shocking.

The 2014 first Quarter exports cost (average of $102.6 million/TWh) ratepayers $391 million to produce and was sold via the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) market at an average of $75.54 million/TWh. That cost Ontario’s ratepayers $103 million.  In 2015, the 6.65 TWh exported cost Ontario’s ratepayers $672 million (average cost of $101 million/TWh), and sold at an average of $35.4 million/TWh, costing Ontario ratepayers $437 million.

To put some context to the latter, the money lost exporting the 6.65 TWh  was equal to 6.6 cents per kilowatt hour.   The foregoing subsidy does not include other costs Ontario’s ratepayers pick up including: spilled hydro, steamed-off nuclear or payments to idling gas plants. The subsidies supporting exports is double what Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli suggests is needed to assist almost 600,000 “low-income” households to pay their hydro bills. Ontario’s ratepayers will start paying the latter January 1, 2015.

This analysis would not be complete without noting the cost of wind generation (two quarters) in 2014 was $252.7 million (average cost of $123.5 million per/TWh) and $322.5 million for 2015!

Perhaps our Finance Minister should “focus” on the harm to Ontario’s ratepayers instead of dumping our surplus electricity on our neighbours who are happy to take it and not raise the issue with the WTO.  If the first quarter of 2015 is indicative of the full year, ratepayers will pick up $1.8 billion in subsidies to supply our neighbours with cheap electricity, while Ontario’s citizens struggle.

©Parker Gallant,                                                                                                                                       April 28, 2015

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

Chart courtesy Scott Luft of Cold Air Online
Chart courtesy Scott Luft of Cold Air Online

Ontario ratepayers on the hook for Ontario deficit

Ontario on the brink of the financial abyss--with electricity ratepayers on the hook for millions
Ontario on the brink of the financial abyss–with electricity ratepayers on the hook for millions

“Building Ontario Up”…to a huge disappointment

A letter directed to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, dated April 1, 2015, suggesting how he might stop the climb in electricity prices remains unanswered.

The budget preview posted on the WCO site April 19, 2015, however, has been verified.  The Ontario Budget, “Building Ontario Up,” released by Finance Minister Sousa April 23, 2015 has lots of bad news for Ontario ratepayers.

Prior to the release of the budget, Sousa released a 191-page report: “Ontario’s Long-Term Report on the Economy,” which got no media attention.  The report speaks to the wonders of how the current government plans for Ontario’s future will look, but with a caveat:  “It is beyond the scope of projections of this nature to quantify the risks of global political disruptions, extreme weather due to climate change, major health emergencies such as pandemics, disruptive technologies or an increase in international conflicts. Any of these factors, in addition to other unforeseen risks, could significantly impact the long-term outlook for the Ontario economy.”

With respect to electricity, it had this to say: “This will mean pursuing lower-cost options to meet energy needs when and where they are needed and other initiatives to reduce the cost increases in electricity now and in the future. Compared to the previous plan, the 2013 LTEP is expected to reduce projected cost increases by a cumulative $16 billion in the near term (2013–17), and $70 billion by 2030.”

The take-away from the lack of a response from Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli is that the Liberal agenda, as it relates to the electricity sector, is written in stone and ratepayers are now regarded as a “revenue tool.”  Ratepayers are needed to pay for the agenda, to help balance the budget, and eliminate the deficit, despite the dishonest comment in the preceding quote.

The budget confirmed most of the preview forecast and included areas that extracts after-tax ratepayer dollars, despite the rhetoric in the “Long-Term Report on the Economy.” Non-budget Items, Reduced Spending and Increased Revenue from Ratepayers are three categories reviewed as follows.

►Non-budget Items affecting ratepayers

The budget claims the province is making “investments” falsely by extracting monies from ratepayers as the following quote about the “Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program” (NIER) notes: “the government is committing to ongoing support for northern industrial facilities beyond March 2016, with continued investment of up to $120 million annually.”

The $120 million referenced will be paid by ratepayers, not taxpayers. It’s just one example.  The rest include: the newly announced Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) for “low-income” households of $225 million (see below under “Reduced Spending”); the Class A to Class B shift for industrial consumers with peak demand of 3 Megawatts costing an estimated $200 million; the recently approved rate increase by the Ontario Energy Board for the OPG which increased electricity costs $600 million; and the anticipated increases in delivery charges for LDC (local distribution companies) of $600 million.  Collectively the foregoing represent over $1.7 billion. This additional cost to ratepayers attracts the Ontario Portion of the HST (see below under “Increased Revenue”).

Reduced Spending

The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit will officially end December 31, 2015 meaning the forecast in the budget reduces this cost by $220 million; it will be followed in the next budget by a further reduction of $900 million.  This reduced spending will than be paid fully by ratepayers and include the HST, raising costs another $145 million putting $90 million into Ontario’s sales tax revenue slot. The budget also shows a cut of $243 million in “Social Service” spending reflecting the advent of the OESP.  Total reduced spending next year will be $450 million and in two years, will be reduced by $1.4 billion!

Increased Revenue from ratepayers

The budget anticipates increased Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PIL) of $315 million. That means the province is anticipating huge profits being generated by LDC that will be directly taken from ratepayers’ pockets.   In addition, the province’s portion of “sales tax” (forecast to increase $1.2 billion) on HST revenues will produce another $160 million for the 2015/16 year and in excess of $230 million in 2016/17.  Increased Revenue will be $550 million.

Eliminating the double counting on LDC revenue (PIL of $315 versus forecast “Non-budget Item” of $600 million) and “Social Service” spending ($243 million) will saddle ratepayers with costs in excess of $2.1 billion for budget year 2015/16 and $3.1 billion the following year—that’s without including the costs of the additional industrial wind and solar generation now in the contracting process!

In short

The ratepayers in Ontario should be grateful the reduction in those “projected cost increases by a cumulative $16 billion in the near term (2013–17), and $70 billion by 2030” have been tackled by our incumbent government, or the excesses we have seen, past, present and future from the proliferation of industrial wind turbines and solar panels, would have driven all industry from Ontario and have us freezing in the dark and unable to buy groceries.

As it is, the budget claims:  “Ontario remains the leading destination in North America for FDI” (Foreign Direct Investment). That particular claim fails to mention that as much as $25 billion of the “FDI” came from foreign companies rushing to Ontario to sign those lucrative ratepayer-backed wind and solar contracts, guaranteeing them 20 years of subsidies!

The current Liberal government has brought Ontario to the brink of the whirlpool. Unless they change their push for more wind and solar generation “Athens-on-the-lake” (a.k.a. Queen’s Park) and  Ontario will be sucked into the abyss.

©Parker Gallant

April 25, 2015

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy

Decision to protect endangered turtle upheld-wind farm would cause serious harm

Here is a statement from the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists:

The Ontario Court of Appeal reversed a lower court ruling regarding a Renewal Energy Approval of the 9-turbine Ostrander Point industrial wind project. The decision reinstates the key initial finding of the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) that serious and irreversible harm to threatened Blanding’s Turtles will occur if the project operates as approved.

“We’re very pleased. The court has ruled in favour of protecting the environment, which is what we’ve asked for throughout“ said Myrna Wood of the successful appellant Prince Edward County Field Naturalists.

“The decision is undoubtedly important” said Eric Gillespie, its legal counsel. “This is the first renewable energy case to reach the Court of Appeal. The Court has supported our client’s fundamental concerns and affirmed a number of legal principles that clearly will be relevant to other appeals.”

The question of remedy has been directed back to the ERT.

For further information contact Myrna Wood 613-476-1506 myrna@kos.com or Eric Gillespie 416-436-7473 (voice/text) egillespie@gillespielaw.ca

And, more detail from Cheryl Anderson, spokesperson for PECFN:

The Prince Edward County Field Naturalists have finally won their appeal against an industrial wind turbine project at Ostrander Point.  The Decision by the Appeal Court of Ontario found that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s turtle and its habitat.

It also found that Gilead Power and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment did not get a hearing of their proposal for a different remedy and that the Environmental Review Tribunal should hear that proposal.  The ‘remedy’ proposed was to put gates on the access roads to stop public traffic. PECFN is more than willing to show the Tribunal how putting gates on the very access roads, which will cause the irreversible harm, is no remedy at all.

This decision shows that with careful thought the Court of Appeal has recognized the serious consequences that would result in the development of Ostrander Point Crown Land Block.  The court has referred back to the Environmental Review Tribunal the matter of gates on the turbine access roads, which is described as a remedy to the serious and irreversible harm to the Blanding’s Turtle.  The consideration of this matter was not allowed by the Divisional Court.

The decision also shows that even though the structure of the Green Energy Act imposes almost impossible odds against environmental protection, determined people can succeed in making their case heard.


What the K2 documents mean

Wind power agreements are very detailed and complex: not everyone knew what they were getting into, says lawyer Eric Gillespie
Wind power agreements are very detailed and complex: landowners are signing away property rights in the agreements

Last week, news of a $1 billion “charge” on properties leased for the K2 wind power project was sent out throughout Ontario, by an individual who happened upon them at a registry office.

While incomplete, the documents do indicate a situation that should be of concern to anyone leasing land for wind turbines, or other wind “farm”-associated uses.

Parker Gallant, a former bank vice-president, sums up what we know about the K2 situation:

…the lenders want to ensure protection of their loan. The security they look for is 1. the actual wind turbines  (the capital cost to build them and their value), 2. the OPA contract (probably via an acknowledged assignment), and 3. the leases (due to concern the lessor may back out or sue the developer) that property owners have signed.

The lenders would be looking at the consequences of, say, the property owner selling his property or someone else like a bank (who is providing a mortgage or a short-term loan to finance crops or cattle before taking the cattle to market or selling the crops), or the township (for non-payment of property taxes) stepping in and exercising their rights under their security or position (e.g., municipal taxes owing but unpaid).

By registering against the property, the lender knows they would get first rights to pay up (property taxes) or stop the sale (if the lessee decided to sell) in order to cure the default etc.  What that effectively does is tie the hands of the lessor until the contract expires or the lender is repaid in full.  Any one who signed the lease is putting themselves in that position and it is surprising that more people don’t understand what they are doing when they agree to lease their property to a developer.

We will be looking into the K2 documents in greater detail as is possible, but once again, the lesson for landowners is, it’s not simply a deal where you lease a bit of your property and get some money every year. These wind turbine leases are very serious documents, full of implications for the landowner.

As one Ontario mayor told the Not A Willing Host meeting at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario meeting in Ottawa almost two years ago, “What landowners need to understand is that they essentially sold their property for the lease amount.”

K2 is just another example of that object lesson.


Clear adverse health effect from wind turbine noise: expert health panel

Council of Canadian Academies

Wind turbine near Ridgetown ON
Wind turbine near Ridgetown ON

Released April 9, 2015

Ottawa (April 9, 2015) – A new expert panel report, Assessing the Evidence: Wind Turbine Noise, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies provides an in-depth examination of 32 potential adverse health effects linked to wind turbine noise. For most of the identified symptoms, the evidence is inadequate to draw a direct link between wind turbine noise and a negative health effect.

However, there is sufficient evidence of a causal relationship between exposure to such noise and annoyance.

Determining whether wind turbine noise causes adverse health effects is an important issue as demand  for renewable energy, including wind power, is expected to grow in Canada and around the world. The wind sector has expanded rapidly since the 1990s, and Canada is now the fifth-largest global market for the installation of wind turbines. With this demand, however, come concerns that the presence of wind turbines may pose a public health risk to nearby residents. In response to public concern, Health Canada asked the Council of Canadian Academies to conduct an in-depth expert panel assessment to evaluate the evidence and identify gaps in knowledge.

“The Panel looked at what had been written on the potential health effects of exposure to wind turbines, in the scientific literature, legal cases, and the most informative public documents,” said Dr. Tee Guidotti, Expert Panel Chair. “We identified 32 health issues and then analyzed the published peer reviewed studies on each problem to determine if there was evidence for a causal relationship with wind turbine noise.”

The Panel’s report stresses that, given the nature of the sound produced by wind turbines and the limited quality of available evidence, the health impacts of wind turbine noise cannot be comprehensively assessed and further information and study are required.

The Panel outlined 11 main findings discussed in the full report. Some findings include:

1. The evidence is sufficient to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and annoyance.

2. There is limited evidence to establish a causal relationship between exposure to wind turbine noise and sleep disturbance.

3. The evidence suggests a lack of causality between exposure to wind turbine noise and hearing loss.

4. For all other health effects considered (fatigue, tinnitus, vertigo, nausea, dizziness, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.), the evidence was inadequate to come to any conclusion about the presence or absence of a causal relationship with exposure to wind turbine noise.

5. Technological development is unlikely to resolve, in the short term, the current issues related to perceived adverse health effects of wind turbine noise.

6. Impact assessments and community engagement provide communities with greater knowledge and control over wind energy projects and therefore help limit annoyance.

The Expert Panel’s assessment was extensive; they considered a wide range of evidence and developed a rigorous methodology for their work. The resulting report provides key information and insights on what is known and not known about wind turbine noise and its possible impacts on human health. The foundation of knowledge contained in the report can support all levels of government, the scientific community, industry, and community stakeholders as future policies, regulations, and research agendas are considered.

For more information or to download a copy of the Panel’s report, visit the Council of Canadian Academies’ website, www.scienceadvice.ca 

About the Council of Canadian Academies

The Council of Canadian Academies is an independent, not-for-profit organization that began operation in 2005. The Council undertakes independent, authoritative, science-based, expert assessments that inform public policy development in Canada. Assessments are conducted by independent, multidisciplinary panels (groups) of experts from across Canada and abroad. Panel members serve free of charge and many are Fellows of the Council’s Member Academies. The Council’s vision is to be a trusted voice for science in the public interest. For more information about the Council or its assessments, please visit www.scienceadvice.ca.

Amherst Island groundwater could be affected by wind farm

A map of Amherst Island from the Revised Draft Site Plan by Windlectric.

Kingston Whig-Standard

STELLA — The group battling a proposed wind energy project that could radically change the skyline of Amherst Island has taken its fight to the ground.

In its latest salvo, the Association to Protect Amherst Island has called for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to better study the impact of the proposed project could have on the island’s groundwater.

Windlectric plans to build a 75-megawatt wind energy project on the 70-square-kilometre island, involving up to 36 turbines.

The association has been arguing that the project’s Renewable Energy Approval application is not complete enough to be approved.

In response to a series of inquiries earlier this year, the provincial government stated that groundwater could be protected during the construction, operation and maintenance of the project.

“The potential for impacts to groundwater quality and/or quantity is low,” the ministry stated.

In a letter last week, APAI president Peter Large cited a ministry-funded study from 2007 by Trow Associates Inc. that showed the importance, and fragility, of groundwater as a source of drinking water.

“The (Environment Ministry) is either unaware of or has ignored entirely the Trow Report, which indicates that Amherst Island exhibits “moderate to high to very high” sensitivity to pollution of its groundwater,” Large stated in his April 2 letter.

Windlectric “has made no effort to determine the effects of its 33 to 37 proposed deep excavations would have on island wells or that by merely opening up an excavation would allow polluted surface water into the groundwater supply,” Large added.

The Western Cataraqui Region Groundwater Study was prepared by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority and funded by the Environment Ministry, the Ontario Operations Clean Water Initiative and participating municipalities.

“This study examines groundwater in relation to its supply, natural quality characteristics and its potential vulnerability to contamination,” Large stated, quoting the study.

“Groundwater is the primary source of potable water in the study area.”

The study covered about 3,000 square kilometres — home to about 43,000 people — and noted that groundwater in limestone plains is particularly vulnerable to contaminants.

About two-thirds of the wells in the study area draw water from the limestone zones, the study determined.

“Most wells in the study area are shallow, drawing groundwater from a depth of 15 to 30 metres. With so many shallow wells across the region, potential contaminants have a short pathway to groundwater,” the study stated.

“The majority of the groundwater in the study area is used for domestic purposes and is highly vulnerable to contamination.

“Groundwater in the limestone plains is most vulnerable to potential contaminants, with shallow wells, little soil cover (overburden) over bedrock, with fractures and other openings.”

The study classed all of Amherst Island in the moderate to very high sensitivity categories.

In another letter last week, the association took issue with what it called the third change to Windlectric’s Renewable Energy Approval application.

The change deals with a temporary cement factory that is to be built on Second Concession and accessed by trucks from that road and Front Road between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., six days a week.

The plant is to draw 120,000 litres of water each day while it produces concrete for the 600-cubic-metre foundations of the turbines.

The association is arguing that it has yet to be determined if that water will be drawn from Lake Ontario or transported from the mainland.

Also, there has been no solution put forward to handle the wastewater from the plant.

Ontario Energy Board: new rate design for consumers! (Look out, it’s going to hurt)

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) plans to implement its “Rate Design for Electricity Distributors”soon.  Their report starts with this vague attempt to explain how ratepayers in Ontario have been affected:

“We have concluded that this change is an important step in the ongoing evolution of the electricity sector in Ontario that will benefit customers and support distributors.”

Reading through the 31-page report, it becomes obvious that the author(s) regard the 4.9 million customers of the various local distribution companies as naive when it comes to the consumption of  electricity: “Focus groups and surveys undertaken by the OEB suggest that customers have little understanding of how electricity is measured. Customers do not yet have a good understanding of what is meant by a kilowatt hour.”  And, “Focus groups and surveys have told us that customers have little understanding of the structure of the electricity industry that underlies the current form of the bill or how electricity is measured.”

Bear this attitude in mind as you read my analysis of what will happen to distribution rates over the next few years, and consider the first objective of the OEB, “To protect the interests of consumers with respect to prices and the adequacy, reliability and quality of electricity service.”  Perhaps we need a focus group to see how the OEB met their first objective!

The OEB report preamble notes: “Distribution rates are designed to recover the costs for the poles, wires, meters, transformer stations, trucks and computer systems that bring electricity from the high voltage transmission system to the individual homes and businesses of Ontario. These charges represent about 20% to 25% of a residential customer’s total electricity bill.”

Well, not in Toronto, as Hydro bills suggest the “Delivery” charge is 33%!  So, why does this report start with incorrect facts?  It goes on: “The new residential rate design will be a fixed monthly charge only. All distributors will make this change. The specific charge will vary from distributor to distributor, depending upon the costs of the specific distributor.”

So the “fixed monthly charge” varies by distributor, and this report suggests it will continue to vary.   Why no benchmarking?

Here is the OEB future: “residential customers that use a lot of electricity and those that use very little electricity will see larger changes. Customers that use a lot of electricity (for example, those that heat with electricity) will see their distribution charges go down; customers that use little electricity will see their distribution charges go up.”  How exactly is this an incentive to conserve?

Coming so soon after Minister Chiarelli’s launch of the Ontario Electricity Support Program, this proposal will raise rates for people who don’t heat with electricity and those who use very little electricity.  It seems destined to raise distribution rates for certain “low-income” ratepayers.

Another distortion of facts is this statement from the report:  “The current framework for conservation is being delivered by Ontario’s distributors with funding and coordination by the Independent Electricity System Operator.”  (IESO)

Now who has “little understanding”? The author(s) seems blissfully unaware  conservation funding is paid by ratepayers in the commodity charge via the Global Adjustment (GA). The error is later corrected: “Every dollar in distribution charges that a customer saves through conservation is subsequently recovered from customers.”  So, funding doesn’t actually come from IESO just like the commodity cost, i.e., every dollar we lose exporting surplus generation (lots of it wind power) is recovered from customers via the GA.

Further on in the report the issue of benchmarking is sort of raised:  “The new distribution rate design simplifies one aspect of electricity rates. It will also allow for clearer comparisons between distributors.”  Does that mean customers will be able to choose a distributor, or simply look longingly at those who are more efficient?  One should expect it will be the latter.

Bill impacts projected by the OEB:

We analyzed the bill impact for the residential customers on eleven distribution systems, or about 850,000 customers1..

• About 57% of customers will see no change, or will see a bill increase or decrease of less than $5 per month.

• About 21% will see a bill decrease of more than $5 per month.

About 22% will see an increase of more than $5 per month.

That means 22% of ratepayers will experience a minimum increase of at least $60 annually, and perhaps half of the  57% will experience an increase in the range of  $30/40 annually.  Without factoring Hydro One’s customers into the “analysis,” this writer is skeptical those numbers will translate to their client base—as one would expect rural clients will be hit the hardest as Hydro One has the most “poles, wires, meters, transformer stations, trucks and computer systems.

This begs the question: is this simply a way to fatten up the profitability of Hydro One before Premier Wynne sells some or all of it off?

Further on in the report we find this interesting claim suggesting LDCs will no longer need to apply for rate increases because of our conservation efforts: “The more successful distributors are in achieving these conservation targets, the greater the bill savings for customers.”

This ex-banker reads that as, because most of the delivery costs will be fixed, the LDC’s revenue base will have increased and they will not care if you conserve or not because they are getting additional revenue via the higher “fixed distribution” charge.  No skin in the game!

The authors of this report apparently see it the same light:  “Stable and predictable revenues improve a distributor’s cash flow and also improve credit worthiness.”  An improved cash flow would suggest this increases the ability to sell off a chunk of Hydro One at a higher price as the following suggests:  “While a number of stakeholders were of the view that the return on equity should be reduced, distributors were of the view that no change would be justified. This issue raises a number of important considerations and requires more extensive analysis, all of which is beyond the scope of this consultation.”

Justifying increased fixed distribution rates, no matter the consumption, was not “beyond the scope of this consultation” but reviewing the “return on equity” apparently is?

There is more: “We are phasing the change to reduce the impact on those customers whose bills will increase. The rate changes will begin in 2016 and will be completed in 2019.”

In other words, we have been guaranteed distribution rates will increase for the next four years by the OEB who take orders from Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy.

We ratepayers with “little understanding” should be thankful our Liberal government is instituting distribution pricing to “benefit” customers?

Sure, and the gas plant moves cost only $40 million!

© Parker Gallant,

April 5, 2015

1.  Based on the number of customers, Hydro One was obviously not included in the analysis.

Ontario’s spooky “phantom power”: beware!

Ontario: we have to pay for more wind turbines because of THIS!
Ontario: we have to pay for more wind turbines because of THIS!

Phantom Power? Beware of Phantom messaging

The Conservation First theme of Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli‘s Long-term Energy Plan (LTEP), “Achieving Balance,” is in full swing these days as evident by the brochures that arrive in the mail, and with our (inflated) electricity bills.  The various local distribution companies (LDCs) are out promoting the  message where ever and whenever they can.  The brochure from Toronto Hydro told me to “BBQ my meals,” have an “energy-free night” once a week, and start an “energy waster jar” and fine my kids for leaving lights on!

They also tell me to unplug electronics to avoid paying for “phantom power.”

Hydro One has a lot to say about “phantom power” and this one is particularly amusing, as they first tell you to purchase “energy efficient” appliances but later on warn you:

“ Too many clocks in the kitchen? Appliances with clocks use electricity when not in use. When purchasing new appliances, look for ones without a clock feature. As well, if you have pay-tv services, you may want to keep your cable television converter powered up at all times, otherwise you risk rebooting problems.”

These are “words of wisdom”?

So the LDC providing you with progressively more expensive electricity tells you to stop wasting that “phantom power” but have no hesitation billing you for power you don’t consume.  The difference is they refer to “phantom power” as “line losses.”  In the case of Toronto Hydro, you are billed for 3.76% for power you didn’t consume—for Hydro One it can be as much as 9.2%.

That “phantom power” they don’t deliver is now hidden in the “delivery” line of your bill.

Conservation? Or, hypocrisy?

© Parker Gallant

April 7, 2015