How to spend $4.7 billion ratepayer dollars

$4.7 billion? I'll read it later--the Sens are playing
$4.7 billion? I’ll read it later–the Sens are playing

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.
OPA Business Plan Figure 2.
OPA Business Plan Figure 2.

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.
©Parker Gallant
September 18, 2014
Views expressed are those of the author.

What's your reaction?


  • Barbara
    Posted September 19, 2014 7:35 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Parker for looking into these issues!
    Social benchmarking is another conditioning tool used on the public.
    And some of the parties engaged in this social benchmarking across North America have already been identified.
    This information can be supplied again if necessary.

  • johana
    Posted September 19, 2014 9:31 pm 0Likes

    Well, that’s a paltry $1044/ratepayer. Isn’t that just play money for you all?

  • Barbara
    Posted September 19, 2014 10:20 pm 0Likes

    OPA 2012 Residential Projects
    Hydro One Networks Inc. Social Benchmarking Pilot Program:
    Hydro One Networks Inc & O Power Inc.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 19, 2014 10:45 pm 0Likes

    Time, June 11,2013
    Uses peer pressure.
    “Energy efficiency isn’t just about technology, as Alex Laskey of O Power explains in this video, it’s also about psycology.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 19, 2014 11:36 pm 0Likes

    O Power Inc., Arlington, VA., founded 2007
    Board includes:
    Thomas Brady, also Board Chair of ENBALA Power Networks, Toronto.
    ENBALA Networks Ltd. Toronto operates a Smart Grid network.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 20, 2014 1:27 pm 0Likes

    Wikipedia, O Power Inc., Arlington, VA
    Science & Technology section:
    “Opower Energy reports incorporate the behavioral science technologies of Robert Cialdini, Opowers chief scientist and author of ‘Influence’, a 1989 book on persuasion.”
    Another case for Julian?

  • Barbara
    Posted September 20, 2014 2:31 pm 0Likes

    Mind Tools,
    Cialdini’s Six Princples of Influence also known as the Six Weapons of Influence.
    Principles are: Reciprocity,Commitment,Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity.
    The book date above should be 1984.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 20, 2014 3:54 pm 0Likes

    OPA , 2012 Social Benchmarking Programs
    The costs of these programs is confidential.
    Pilot programs include:
    Horizon Utilites Corp.
    Milton Hydro Distrubition Inc.
    Hydro One Networks Inc.
    Some information at this website on how this works:
    More information on this subject on the internet.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 20, 2014 5:55 pm 0Likes

    Simple Energy, Boulder,Col. founded 2010
    “Using behavioral tactics and day-of-use messaging, we drive significant load reductions during peak times.”
    Clients include: Milton Hydro
    Also view Wikipedia : Simple Energy

  • Barbara
    Posted September 20, 2014 7:58 pm 0Likes

    Milton Hydro, July 30, 2014
    Community Energy Challenge
    Milton Hydro, Simple Energy Inc. and OPA
    Social benchmarking program for residential customers in Milton, ON
    Provides some information on how benchmarking works.

  • Barbara
    Posted September 21, 2014 12:05 am 0Likes

    SeeWind Design Corp., Ottawa founded 1994
    SeeWind Design owns or operates SwitchHop, Energy Management, Ottawa. Hydro One customers sign up for “benchmarking” reports at:
    Some other Ontario utilities also use SwitchHop for “benchmarking” reports.
    Complex inter – company set up.

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