Florida drops electricity rates again, Ontario’s continue to rise
A Canadian snowbird tells me that Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) announced they once again reduced their rates and now brag their electricity rates are lower than 10 years ago. This is quite a feat when measured against other basic needs in Florida, such as the cost of food — up 26%; housing — up 20%; and healthcare, up 40%. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) the all-in Florida rate (including delivery costs) was 11.49 cents/kWh as of December 31, 2015.
Contrast that news with Ontario and a look back at the prescribed Ontario Energy Board (OEB) November 1, 2005 rate (electricity only); it was 5.32 cents/kWh. The OEB site notes at November 1, 2015 it had climbed to an average of 10.7 cents/kWh. The change from 2005 represents an increase of 101% . And that doesn’t include delivery, regulatory and HST, which have had the effect of doubling our rates.
FPL has more residential customers (4.8 million) than Ontario (4.5 million) and those FPL customers consume more electricity per capita than all other states (1,000 kWh per month) except Texas, yet the average annual bill is only $1,900. It should be noted FPL’s parent company is Nextera Energy Inc. which has a subsidiary in Ontario (Nextera Energy Canada) with more than 600 megawatts (MW) of industrial wind turbines (IWT) capacity, and a contract guaranteeing them in the neighbourhood of $135.00 per MW hour for their generation. If one calculates the potential revenue of those 613.8 MW at a generation level of 30% of capacity, it can be expected to represent annual revenue of almost $220 million and, over the 20-year span of the contract, would generate about $4.4 billion.
Presently Nextera’s Florida subsidiary FPL has zero MW of wind power in Florida and a limited amount of solar-based power, but claim “its highly fuel-efficient power plant fleet is one of the cleanest among all utilities nationwide.” Also : “FPL’s fossil fuel fleet set a new record for its fuel efficiency in 2013, bringing its system-wide heat rate down to 7,657 British thermal units (BTU) per kilowatt hour”.
Clearly, the reason Ontario’s electricity rates for residential households climbed 101% while FPL’s has declined, is linked to our politicians who are determined to add 10,700 MW of renewable energy in the form of wind, solar and biomass at contracted rates, well in excess of competing jurisdictions. Add to that the need to back up wind and solar with gas plants and it is easy to see why the lack of a cost/benefit analysis has driven so many Ontarians into energy poverty.
If the next several years of Liberal rule, provincially and federally, bring Ontario more costly intermittent and unreliable generation sources; consumers will be further driven to make the choice between “heat or eat” and our industrial base will continue to lose good jobs.
Let’s pull the plug on costly energy sources until Florida and the rest of the world catches up!
© Parker Gallant
March 15, 2016
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.