Missing electricity data shows Wynne government not ‘transparent’
Omitted data means Ontario government and IESO, not transparent
A Government of Ontario website, updated January 11, 2016, is all about the promise of “Open Government”. Premier Kathleen Wynne is quoted: “Our Open Government initiative will help create the transparent, accessible government the people of Ontario deserve. This is part of our vision for One Ontario, where every voice counts.”
That looks like an empty promise in respect to the Energy Ministry anyway: the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) just released its “2015 Ontario Electricity Data” and it’s full of missing data. Perhaps that would have been considered too open and too transparent.
What IESO didn’t tell us:
- Exporting 22,618,000 megawatts (MWh) of surplus power in 2015 cost Ontario ratepayers $1.759 billion.
- Those 22,618,000 MWh would have powered about 50% (2.4 million) average Ontario households that consume 800 kWh monthly and 9.6 MWh annually.
- Those 22,618,000 MWh represented 16.5% of total Ontario Demand in 2015 and 14.8% of total Ontario generation from all sources (except imbedded).
- Embedded (referred to as Dx) capacity in Ontario at the end of the third quarter of 2015 totaled 3,579.2 MW of capacity and included 2,103 MW of solar and 669 MW of wind; the amount of energy those two sources alone probably generated (estimated as IESO don’t provide this data) was in the order of 4,500,000 MWh.
- Estimated cost of Dx solar, $1.4 billion and of Dx wind $220 million additional to the reported wind production cost of $1,125 million and the $125 million cost of reported solar bringing total costs of those two sources to almost $2.9 billion. That’s without factoring in other related costs!
- Wind and solar generation are given “first to the grid” rights meaning they often create SBG (surplus baseload generation) which requires Bruce Power to “steam off” nuclear production for which they are paid, but that potential generation and its cost to ratepayers was not reported by IESO. In fact, there were 588 incidences in 2014 when nuclear was “steamed off,” but IESO don’t report the incidences for 2015.
- IESO don’t disclose how much wind or solar was curtailed or constrained, so we are unable to determine how much additional surplus generation may have been produced without grid constraints, and what that may have cost ratepayers.
- The spilling of clean hydro is also part of the maneuvers to prevent SBG often caused by power generation from wind, produced out-of-phase with demand, but IESO don’t disclose either the generation spilled, or the cost to ratepayers for that lost carbon-free power production.
- IESO claim Ontario Demand fell by 2% in 2015 thanks to “conservation,” etc., but the reader isn’t told the cost of the conservation program, nor is it explained what IESO meant by “broader economic shifts.” Does this mean Ontario is losing (more) manufacturing jobs, or households and businesses are simply going off-grid?
- IESO doesn’t disclose costs of generation by source so the reader is completely uninformed; for example, what did the 15.4 terawatts (TWh) of gas generation cost us in 2015? Would it be asking too much for IESO to, at the very least, disclose in their press release what the capacity of each generation source was at the year-end right above where they disclose its production?
- IESO casually include the Global Adjustment as a per kilowatt hour cost but don’t disclose that average households pick up a large part ($500/600 million annually) of the total costs to allow Class A (large industrial customers) lower rates.
- IESO fail to note the cost of a kilowatt of electricity (exclusive of distribution, etc. costs) increased from an average of 9.06 cents/kWh to 10.8 cents/kWh, an 11.9% increase from 2014 to 2015.
- IESO don’t disclose the total value of the GA except to note it was 7.78 cents/kWh. If one extrapolates the per/kWh GA, against total generation (total Ontario consumption of 137 TWh plus net import/exports of 16.885 TWh plus Dx of 4.5 TWh = 158.355 TWh), the Global Adjustment becomes $12.3 billion!
With this amount of important data missing, should we consider IESO to be open and transparent?
Surely the current provincial government can’t seriously believe Ontario’s ratepayers are so simple minded as to be satisfied by empty promises of an “open” and “transparent” government when they view the incomplete utterances from an entity directly under the purview and control of the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli.
It’s time for the current Premier to stop pretending “every voice counts”!
© Parker Gallant,
January 18, 2016
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.