How to spend $4.7 billion ratepayer dollars
A Liberal cost/benefit plan or, how to “plan” to spend $4.7 billion ratepayer dollars
Give Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli a nice pie (chart) and he will be happy. He gave his blessing to the proposed OPA Business Plan to spend $4.2 billion ratepayer dollars—all nicely pictured in a pie chart that doesn’t include spending $483 million on “conservation” initiatives.
The plan was submitted Friday January 24, 2014 and was approved by Chiarelli on Tuesday, January 29, 2012. Guess he worked over the weekend studying the chart? Figure 2 (the chart) in the Plan provides a breakdown of planned 2014 electricity spending on those “generation charges of $4,242 million” plus another chart laying out the $483 million to be spent on conservation.
Green is for clean-23% ($975.6 million); Blue is for Renewable-32% ($1,357.4 million) and puce is for nuclear-45% (1,909 million)! The Chart as noted represents $4,242 million ratepayer dollars to be spent in 2014.
The chart from the 2014−2016 OPA Business Plan was filed with the OEB, as file number EB-2013-0326. The OPA’s budget for their operational expenditures ($60.3 million) was also included in the submission and approved by the OEB December 19, 2013. The 40-page submission uses buzz words rather than actual economic analysis or a cost-benefit study. For example, you will find “partner” or partnership and partners 57 times, “initiatives” 55 times, “ensure” 22 times, “cost-effective” 20 times, “communication” 24 times, and “solution” 21 times.
The last of 12 listed as “most significant initiatives” is this: “continuing efforts to further reduce expenses and the cost impact of operations on electricity consumers.” So “cost impact” on electricity consumers is at the bottom of the heap. Not likely to change with the Liberal majority government.
You also find the OPA’s “Vision” statement in the Plan which is: “Leading Ontario in the development of North America’s most reliable, cost-effective and sustainable electricity system.” The vision is certainly leading Ontario, but in the direction of being the most expensive electricity system in North America. We just need to pass California and New York City and we will have achieved the goal!
The Business Plan also says the OPA will challenge us residential ratepayers to increase our conservation. How, you ask? The Plan suggests the OPA will do this: “Two other initiatives of strategic value are a pay-for-performance conservation model and a social benchmarking pilot. This pilot aims to cost-effectively reduce residential electricity consumption by providing residents with information-based tools that allow the comparison of one home’s energy performance to that of another home or group of homes. Results from the social benchmarking pilot will be analyzed and used for recommending next steps on developing such a program across the province.”
What? They are now going to shame Ontario electricity customers by applying the “trained seal” approach and presumably award “pay-for-performance” to those who train us? Set communities against one another?
This is some “business plan.”
The OPA commits to spending $4.7 billion ratepayer dollars and gets the blessing of the Minister without a single question! Life is good when Chiarelli is your boss and there are 4.5 million ratepayers to pick up the tab.
September 18, 2014
Views expressed are those of the author.