The Ontario Power Authority: Engaging with “stakeholders” after Burning the Bridges

The Press Release from the OPA issued on August 1, 2013 spoke to how they wish to engage “with stakeholders, municipalities and Aboriginal communities.” to develop a “new competitive procurement process for large renewable projects”. This “engagement” was driven by a June 12, 2013 directive from Bob Chiarelli, the current Ontario Minister of Energy but for some reason it has taken the OPA over a month and a half to undertake his directions. These engagements with the stakeholders are to wrap up by August 19, 2013 and the recommendations will be summarized and presented to Minister Chiarelli by September 1, 2013.

Picture from Ottawa Sun

The amusing part of this process is that the OPA has (according to their March 31, 2013 report) already contracted for 22,282 MW and that doesn’t include any of the reported 2,600 MW of conservation that they claim in the chart on their Status, Outlook and Options for Electricity Service , paper released in support of the Long-Term Energy Plan Review that Minister Chiarelli has instituted.

It should also be noted that it was the OPA who presumably contracted for the Greenfield and TransCanada gas plants which have cost the ratepayers and taxpayers a minimum of $585 million for absolutely NO POWER! The Mississauga Greenfield process of “competitive procurement” resulted in two contracts awarded to a company that could not secure financing resulting in most of the the huge settlement associated with the movement of that gas plant to Lambton. One of the two contracts awarded was eventually cancelled but the latter cost, to Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers, went to satisfy the almost usurious rates charged to them by the party that eventually provided the financing for the Mississauga gas plant.

So having seen what appears to be a previously flawed procurement process and the OPA’s claim of having contracted for almost 25,000 MW of power (enough to power almost 23 million homes) the OPA now gets instructions from the Minister to engage stakeholders in the process. Hmmm!

To most sane people, the sudden realization by the Liberal Energy Minister that the whole process was flawed this late in the game should be a strong indication that the oversight that the “political masters” should have provided was instead usurped by the ministerial directives that found their way to the OPA from the eight Liberal Energy Ministers Ontario occupying that chair over the past 10 years of Liberal rule. Two of those previous Ministers resigned from Cabinet (Dwight Duncan and Chris Bentley) and in the August 1st by-election both of those seats were lost by the Liberals. That the LTEP “under review” was a “guide” released by Brad Duguid, when Minister of Energy; is a clear indication that there was no oversight and instead the politicians occupying that seat of power treated it as their personal fiefdom dictating what they viewed as what Ontario’s electricity sector should become.

For Minister Chiarelli to suddenly try to revise the LTEP, in this writer’s humble opinion, is merely optics. The OPA’s March 31, 2013 report mentioned above indicates they have contracted for 1,996 MW of solar and 5,797 MW of wind which will do nothing more than drive up the cost of electricity in the province while providing unreliable intermittent power.

The Bridges have been truly burned by the Liberals and future generations of Ontarians will have a tough job rebuilding them.

Parker Gallant,
August 2, 2013

Comments

GregL
Reply

From a distance, all this thrashing around is hard to fathom. (Mental images of a bunch of drunken salesmen at a bar comes to mind…) One wonders, though, if the screen of acronyms, numbered companies and other obfuscations were peeled back and the underlying money flows exposed, if the picture would be any clearer? Their continued enthusiasm for what seems to be a destructive set of policies is curious unless some other, unstated objective is being satisfied. Has anyone succeeded in following the money?

Bob Lyman
Reply

AS sad and as bad as the Liberal government performance is on energy (and on most other policy areas), the people of Ontario just had a chance to punish them for it politically and instead re-elected Liberals in two ridings and elected NDP candidates (who undoubtedly support the same types of policies, if not worse) in two others. Clearly, those who take a different view and who value a higher-integrity brand of politics have to find a better way of getting the message across to their fellow citizens.

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