Who can Ontario’s ratepayers believe?
The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), founded in 1891, claims in its Mission Statement: “CEA is the authoritative voice of the Canadian electricity industry, promoting electricity as a key social, economic and environmental enabler that is essential to Canada’s prosperity.”
That “authoritative voice” recently claimed during National Electricity Month the “average Canadian” spends just $3.59 per day on electricity and on June 11th tweeted a Bob Chiarelli-ism: “The average #electricity bill in Canada is under $4 a day – that’s less than most Canadians pay for a morning coffee!”
This comes as no surprise as the Chair of the CEA is Anthony Haines, also the CEO of Toronto Hydro who on his pay can afford $4 coffee. Haines is often seen supporting Chiarelli when the Minister is defending himself about the Auditor General’s report on “smart meters,” or making an announcement about increasing our costs of the basic commodity. The “average”1. Toronto Hydro Customer currently pays $5.31 per day ($1,940. per annum) for their hydro or the equivalent of two “morning” coffees while Hydro One customers pay about $6 per day.
The CEA in its “Data World” report claims Ontario’s electricity generation in 2012 was 140.4 terawatts (TWh), but IESO reported 151.8 TWh of generation in their January 11, 2013 press release! I am inclined to believe the data published in IESO’s Press Release rather than what the CEA provided. Missing 11.4 TWh tarnishes the claim to be the “authoritative voice” of the Canadian electricity industry.
A 2008 report produced by the CEA contained the following statements: “wind has little impact on the surrounding area, with the exception of aesthetic concerns related to visibility. For these reasons, wind power is touted as a preferred alternative to other non-renewable energy sources.”
“Wind energy also provides significant economic benefits to the rural communities where wind projects are constructed. These take the form of investment, jobs, municipal tax payments and land lease income for landowners.”
There are many rural Ontarians who would quickly dispute most if not all of the claims made in those two claims.
Interestingly, a few members of the CEA are also members of the Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition, founded by Suncor and the Pembina Institute and includes Toronto Hydro and OPG. CAREC are strong proponents of renewable energy from wind and solar.
Needless to say “economics” under the guise of CAREC or the CEA is not an “enabler” for ratepayers, particularly in Ontario where, according to the Ontario Energy Board; 570,000 households live in energy poverty.2.
© Parker Gallant
- The average electricity bill in Ontario assumes consumption of 26.3 kilowatt hours (kWh) per day or 9,600 kWh annually.
- The generally accepted term of “energy poverty” is used to describe a household spending 10% or more of their disposable income on heat and electricity needs.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.