Ontario’s wacky power situation: a look back at 2013

Energy blogger Scott Luft has launched a multi-part look back at 2013 and the head-scratching facts about the electricity market in Ontario. Hear that spinning sound? It’s not the turbines of Big Becky…it’s Sir Adam (“power should be available and affordable for everyone”) spinning in his grave.

2013 Ontario Electricity Annual Review: Part 1 – Supply

In 2013 Ontario’s demand was little changed, while prices for the electricity commodity in Ontario escalated about 16%.
Analysing data from the year provides illustrations for many topics covered on this blog since inception: supply continues to grow while demand does not; excess generation is dumped on export markets far below the cost of supply to Ontarians, and the global adjustment pricing mechanism continues to become a greater component of the commodity charge even as it becomes clearer it’s largely improvised each month.

Read more here.

New York to Ontario business: we have savings on power rates!

From the Watertown Daily Times, this story.

St. Lawrence County IDA appeals to Ontario businesses with low-cost power

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The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency is hoping to use the availability of low-cost power and other economic enhancement tools to draw in businesses from Ontario, where the price of electricity is jumping.
“In all of our inquiries with potential firms, power is an issue,” IDA Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly said. “If we bring that message to them, hopefully it becomes an item of interest.”
The potential of low-cost power opens the door to other discussions about opportunities in the county, Mr. Kelly said.
The IDA sent out mailers this month to various Ontario businesses encouraging them to expand across the border. The brochure pushes low-cost economic development power available through the New York Power Authority’s Preservation Power Program and low-cost power through the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency.
The IDA’s marketing strategy has not been lost in Ontario, where a recent article in the Brockville Recorder on the energy crisis noted that St. Lawrence County is contacting Canadian firms to promote electricity rates that are 50 percent less than those in Ontario, which are the highest in North America.
The IDA mailer also promotes research and collaboration with colleges, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Start-Up NY initiative to create tax-free zones, the county’s labor force, buildings and greenfield industrial sites available for use, the foreign trade zone through the Ogdensburg Commerce Park, an advanced telecommunications network, and the geographic advantage of being between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.
Canadian businesses have long been a target market of the IDA, but the energy price hikes in Ontario raise the county’s advantages, Mr. Kelly said.
“We have significant savings if they want to expand over here,” he said.

MacLeod asks for 2nd time in a week: where is Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli?

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Open Letter
Honourable Bob Chiarelli
Minister of Energy
Dear Minister,
I am writing you for the third time in seven days regarding two matters of substantial concern to Hydro users in Ontario. Your absence in the last week has been noticeable and makes me question your commitment and desire to carry out your duties and mandate. 
First, as you are aware in our Eastern Ontario region, Hydro One has initiated improper billing procedures and has threatened to cut of power during the winter for families who are unable to meet Hydro One’s unreasonable demands.  Last Friday, December 20th I requested a directive from you to Hydro One to be issued no later than Monday, December 23rd to correct Hydro One’s incompetent and dishonest billing system, however rural Eastern Ontarians are still waiting for you to display leadership.  No corrective measures have been taken. 
Secondly and more pressing are the tens of thousands of people without power in Toronto, the GTA and throughout rural Southwestern Ontario.   As hydro crews make steady progress I remain concerned that you have still not contacted Opposition MPPs whose communities are impacted by power outages. As you know, it is very important for the Government to communicate with MPPS, even from other political parties, because their constituents turn to them for information and reassurance on the Government’s resolve to return power to their homes. Many Ontarians have gone without power for almost a week, unfortunately, I have been informed by my Progressive Conservative colleagues in affected areas that neither you, nor the Premier’s office or Hydro One have initiated communication with them. This is a basic failure of communication and one that I asked you to rectify in my Tuesday, December 24th follow up letter to you.  

Minister, as I am sure you can appreciate, maintaining power and restoring power is absolutely crucial to Ontarians during the winter.   It is -10 today.   I request your immediate action and an end to your week long silence in these two most pressing energy related matters.

Lisa MacLeod, MPP
Ontario PC Energy Critic 

MacLeod demands Energy Minister act on electricity bills

This letter was sent to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli yesterday by PC Energy Critic Lisa MacLeod, MPP for Nepean-Carleton. If you want to help, write to your MPP, and ask that he or she add his or her voice to Lisa’s, and demand justice for the citizens of Ontario. Here is the letter.

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Open Letter
Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli

Dear Minister,

Tonight’s television and radio news broadcasts in Ottawa were a sad testament to the utter failure of this Liberal government’s energy policies.

In fact it is an indictment of a litany of energy policy failures.

Wind energy from the over zealous subsidies to the sole sourced Samsung contract for wind turbines has been a costly failure which you still hide the true costs of from the public.

The gas plant debacle and subsequent cover up whose impact is still not felt will penalize rate payers in this province for decades.

The OPG is a scandal plagued organization that has been the subject of an Auditor General’s report that resulted in universal outrage. It is only made more horrendous by the fact that
the Liberal cabinet has known about abuses here for several years and done absolutely nothing.

Now Hydro One is threatening to disconnect honest hard working Ontario families in winter ahead of Christmas because of its failures to bill in an appropriate and timely manner and to the terrible failure of so-called ‘smart meters’ which truly have been more trouble than they were worth. I could go on but won’t at this time.

This letter is meant to draw your attention to the plight of Ontario families ahead of Christmas and in the midst of a series of winter storms. If any of these Ontario families are disconnected at this time or during this winter due to the incompetence of Hydro One or the failure of its questionable systems including smart meters it would be an injustice and a tragedy for which the government will bear ultimate responsibility. The government has no one to blame but themselves. You as Minister need to act and you need to act now.

I expect by Monday you will issue a public directive to Hydro One to either clean up its act or that you will clean house. The Legislature may not be sitting but I will still continue to hold you and the Liberal government to account for your energy failures.


Lisa MacLeod, MPP
Ontario PC Energy Critic 



Ontario’s electricity costs a “freight train” says energy analysts

Here from AEGENT Energy Advisors, a commentary on the Ontario Long Term Energy Plan or LTEP.

Latest LTEP Can’t Stop the Electricity Cost Freight Train December 2013

  • One key message in the provincial government’s new Long Term Energy Plan is that projected cost increases are much lower than in the 2010 plan.
  • The essential fact about these cost increases is that they are driven mostly by the costs associated with new generation capacity coming into service that is the result of the government’s energy procurement priorities over the last several years. Virtually all of this capacity is contracted on terms that guarantee some level of above-market payments to the generator.
  • The increased costs on our electricity bills are the result of these contract terms. So if you understand the terms of these contracts then future cost increases are largely foreseeable, and for the next several years there is little that can be done to mitigate the increases.

On December 2, 2013 the Ontario Ministry of Energy released the latest Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), entitled Achieving Balance.  The new LTEP is the first follow-up to the previous plan that was released in November 2010.  Areas addressed in the new plan include conservation, nuclear and renewable energy.
Two prominent messages in the new LTEP are that much has and will be done to mitigate costs and that projected increases are significantly lower than those forecast in 2010.  Figure 7 from the report shows the typical residential electricity bill forecast based on monthly consumption of about 800 kWh.
Read the full article here.

“Ecocrats” make millions while consumers pay and pay for renewables

This article from The Mail on Sunday tracks people involved in the U.K. renewables business…and discovers how much money they are making, while influencing public policy.
  It’s a shocker.

The fatcat ecocrats exposed: Web of ‘green’ politicians, tycoons and power brokers who help each other benefit from billions raised on your bills

  • Four of nine-person Climate Change Committee, official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were until recently, being paid by firms that benefit from committee decisions

By David Rose
PUBLISHED: 22:14 GMT, 14 December 2013 | UPDATED: 22:14 GMT, 14 December 2013

Other industries would stand accused of damning conflicts of interest but when it comes to global warming, anything goes…
The Mail on Sunday today reveals the extraordinary web of political and financial interests creating dozens of eco-millionaires from green levies on household energy bills.
A three-month investigation shows that some of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their efforts.

Enquiries by this newspaper have revealed:

  • Four of the nine-person Climate Change Committee, the official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were until very recently, being paid by firms that benefit from committee decisions.
  •   A new breed of lucrative green investment funds, which were set up to expand windfarm energy, are in practice a means of taking green levies paid by hard-pressed consumers and handing them to City investors and financiers.
  • £3.8 billion of taxpayers’ money funds the new Green Investment Bank, set up by the Department of Business and Skills. One of its biggest deals involved energy giant SSE selling windfarms to one of the new green funds, Greencoat Wind. The Green Investment Bank’s chairman, Lord Smith of Kelvin, is also chairman of SSE. The bank says it ‘provided expertise’ to enable BIS to take a £50 million stake in Greencoat, which helped fund the SSE sale.
  • The same bank’s chief executive, Shaun Kingsbury, is one of the UK’s highest-paid public sector employees. His £325,000 salary is more than twice the Prime Minister’s.
  • Firms lobbying for renewables can virtually guarantee access to key Government policy-makers, because they are staffed by former very senior officials – a striking example of Whitehall’s ‘revolving door’.

Among the most astonishing features exposed by our investigation is the way in which vehement advocates for radical policies designed to curb global warming are making huge sums of money from their work. Here are some of the key  figures among the new breed of  fat-cat Ecocrats…

Globe advice to Ontario: you’re in a hole, stop digging!

From the Globe and mail, advice to Ontario: your electricity policy is kneecapping consumers and business.

Globe editorial

Ontario’s low-voltage electricity policy

The Globe and Mail
Last updated

The first rule of political holes: If you get into one, stop digging. When it passed the 2009 Green Energy Act, Ontario’s Liberal government built itself the political equivalent of a giant, supercharged auger. A half-decade later, the government still hasn’t figured out how to turn the machine off. And the hole keeps getting deeper.

The act, a misguided industrial strategy masquerading as an environmental plan, has been driving up electricity prices ever since its passage. On Monday, a government that continues to search for ways out of this fiasco of its own making released its latest long-term energy plan. Electricity prices are expected to continue to climb sharply in the coming years – though less sharply than previously estimated. It’s a promise to keep digging, just more slowly.According to the latest government estimates, Ontario residential electricity rates will rise 9.6 per cent next year, 5.8 per cent in 2015 and 15 per cent in 2016. Ten years from now, the average family will be paying 50 percent more than today. All of that is well above the rate of inflation.
The pain would be even greater if government were not subsidizing residential electricity bills with something known as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit – which has nothing to do with clean energy, and is not beneficial. It’s a straight, $1-billion-dollar-a-year payment from taxpayers to electricity users – your right pocket is paying your left – financed through deficit spending.

For the full editorial, read here.

Ontario’s power system needs change, not blame

Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli released a new Long Term Energy Plan at Queen’s Park today. The result? Nothing much has changed. Unfortunately.

  The “new” plan maintains the same targets for wind power development, just to be accomplished within a longer time frame. That’s bad news for ratepayers and taxpayers affected by higher electricity rates as a result of the province’s push for “green” power.
   “Ontario never did a cost-benefit analysis for wind power, but now we know what the costs are,” said Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.
   “Very little power produced, power produced out of phase with demand, and few of the thousands of jobs promised. At the same time, the costs are skyrocketing electricity rates, plummeting property values, and absolute tyranny through industrialization of Ontario’s rural communities with huge wind power plants.”
   Wilson noted that the Energy Minister’s response to criticism about electricity rates is to produce a new website that featured a tutorial on how consumers can better use electricity.
  “That was pure insult,” she said, “especially to rural residents forced to pay horrendous delivery charges for power, and who are already doing all they can to conserve while the government continues with policies that drive up costs.
   “We need change, not blame.”
Wind power by the numbers:

  • ·         Currently 3,700 megawatts of wind power under contract but not yet connected to the grid– could mean another $1 billion per year to Ontario costs or $250 to average ratepayer’s bill annually
  • ·         Over 6,700 huge industrial wind turbines are already built or are proposed for Ontario
  • ·         76 Ontario communities have declared themselves “Not A Willing Host” to wind power project
  Contact Wind Concerns Ontario at windconcerns@gmail.com

Long Term Energy Plant release today

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli will release Ontario’s new Long Term Energy Plan today at Queen’s Park, sometime after 1 PM.
The question is, will the government continue its push for expensive wind power for which there was NEVER a cost-benefit analysis done, and which has not produced the thousands of jobs promised, not delivered power, and which has caused electricity rates to rise dramatically, affecting business and consumers alike?
Check back here analysis and comments.

PC Energy Critic Macleod: Ontario communities, businesses suffering

With today marking the first day of Ontario’s new rates for electricity use for both business and consumers, it’s appropriate to repeat a few words from PC Energy Critic Lisa MacLeod, at Queen’s Park yesterday.

In the few seconds I have left, let me talk about North Gower. They’re a community that is living this hydro nightmare because they are going to be forced to deal with these wind turbines. They’re not a willing host, and they know that their neighbours down the road in Bells Corners…struggling to stay in business are going to have to pay for high hydro hikes as a result of the government’s disastrous green energy policy. That is, I think, a perfect example of the Green Energy Act assaulting rural communities, and just 15 minutes down the road, businesses going out of business. I couldn’t make that point more clearly.”