From Parker Gallant:
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) claims it “works at the heart of Ontario’s power system – ensuring there is enough power to meet the province’s energy needs in real time while also planning and securing energy for the future.” IESO claim its “Vision” is “Powering a reliable and sustainable energy future for Ontario.”
The “Mission” will accomplish their vision by “Operating and shaping the electricity system and market in an effective and transparent manner”.
This claim of transparency is worth a closer look — transparency is not something you should claim unless you mean it and your actions support the claim.
Visit the IESO website and simply enter either “transparent” or “transparency” in the search bar; you get 1,860 or 1,870 hits. You could be impressed by that but for those who really crave transparency and have an interest in the results, IESO is disappointing, particularly in the energy environment Ontario now finds itself . The myriad of generators of all types, different rate classes, time-of-use pricing, conservation programs, low-income support programs, curtailment, spillage, steam-off, etc., etc. have also created a demand for meaningful and “transparent” data.
So, is the data on the IESO website “transparent” and useful in the context of disclosing the effectiveness of their immediate boss, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and his policies/directions on the “energy portfolio” and the policy costs? The “burden of proof” should rest on the shoulders of IESO to provide information in a format allowing anyone to analyze the “data” but instead, the IESO fails to deliver. Hard for Ontario ratepayers to discern why their monthly hydro bill keeps rising.
That monthly bill includes a hidden charge for IESO’s operational costs along with a hidden “smart grid” development charge!
Here are other examples where the concept of “transparency” either eludes IESO personnel capabilities or perhaps masks political mandates from the Energy Ministry.
- The amount of generation produced by wind and solar generators connected to local distribution companies (LDC) are referenced as “Dx” or “embedded” generation. IESO: “At the end of 2015 there were nearly 3,000 (MW) of IESO-contracted embedded generation”. IESO are required to use the data to determine monthly payments to those contracted parties, yet they fail to provide details on how much energy was produced (principally solar and wind) or the costs of that generation.
- Since September 11, 2013 IESO have had the right and ability to curtail both wind and solar generation when they felt the grid might be impacted. They have been doing that on a regular basis since. IESO even installed meteorological stations (paid by ratepayers) to measure curtailed production by wind generators yet they don’t disclose how much wind and/or solar is actually curtailed and how much it is costing ratepayers.
- IESO also has the right to instruct Bruce Nuclear to “steam off” nuclear generation but again don’t disclose the amount of generation steamed off or the cost of that wasted generation.
- Spilling hydro is also a common and regular occurrence and again IESO fails to provide the information that would enlighten us. The only information in respect to spilled hydro comes from OPG (Ontario Power Generation), not from IESO or other private sector hydro generators. OPG report, being paid for 1.7 terawatts (TWh) in just the 1st Quarter of 2016 which is enough to power 570,000 average households for the quarter.
- IESO also fails to provide the actual MW capacity of industrial wind turbines in their “Hourly Generator and Output Capability” claiming some are not fully “commissioned,” so the capacity levels provided change hourly.
- IESO fails to provide the necessary data allowing ratepayers to see on a daily, weekly or monthly basis how much of the Global Adjustment (GA) they are forced to pay because of the sale of surplus electricity to markets outside of the province.
- IESO fails to provide daily or weekly data on their “summary reports” that would allow ratepayers to be aware of just how much their extra costs are due to the portion of the GA that is picked up by Class B consumers in support of Class A consumers.
- IESO fails to provide the costs of production by generation source which should include: spilling of hydro, steaming-off of nuclear, curtailment of wind and solar, fixed payments for gas plant idling, fixed prices paid for biomass contracts, etc., etc.
- IESO fails to provide natural gas generation costs which would include total costs associated with idling and production allowing a calculation to determine the cost per kilowatt hour.
The above list could be expanded with a closer look or perhaps by a visit from Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk; however, I think most will agree even without a report from the AG’s office the transparency claimed by IESO is sadly lacking.
I leave it to others to decide if the lack of transparency by IESO reflects incompetence, or is intentional and perhaps directed by the Ministry they report to.
© Parker Gallant,
June 7, 2016
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy