The Premier of Ontario put out a news release on March 2, claiming the government was going to reduce Ontario’s electricity or “hydro” bills substantially.
“I’ve heard from you loud and clear,” Kathleen Wynne said in her statement. “Nobody should have to choose between keeping the lights on or buying groceries.”
The Ontario Liberal government still claims the high electricity prices were because of improvements it “had to” make to the system. The news release concluded with these statements.
“We are – and always will be – committed to making Ontario a fairer and more inclusive place for everyone. And fairness means ensuring government investments don’t disproportionately affect today’s electricity ratepayers. One generation of ratepayers should not have to pay for the sins of the past and for a system that will benefit Ontario for decades to come. So our plan reduces costs today and stretches out costs over the long term so rates are fairer for everyone.”
Fairness. We’ve heard that before, like “transparency.” But again, the government is being disingenuous. Its latest move is simply stretching out the costs of its policy decisions, not taking action to reduce costs. (Our favourite pronouncement on this comes from electricity analyst Bruce Sharp who calls this tactic, “delay and pray.”)
Not reducing costs
The truth is, the government has signed more expensive wind power contracts for power the province doesn’t need.
At the moment, these six contracts, awarded in 2016, total $3.3 billion in costs over 20 years. In addition, there are five more contracts for wind power projects that were approved but which are not yet on the grid –including White Pines, Amherst Island and Fairview Wind which are all in legal contests– that add up to another $1.8 billion.
The total for wind power contracts awarded, which represents new costs no yet on Ontario electricity ratepayer bills, is $5.1 billion.
That is not “reducing costs today”.
The government needs to cancel the 2016 wind power contracts (which contain clauses for pre-construction liability should the government cancel), and buy out of other contracts.
2016 Contracts and 20-year costs
Otter Creek Chatham-Kent– $218 million
Romney Wind Chatham-Kent– $$261 million
Strong Breeze Dutton-Dunwich — $250 million
Eastern Fields The Nation Twp — $$139 million
Nation Rise North Stormont — $436 million
Henvey Inlet Parry Sound — $$2 billion
Related Stories: Kevin Libin in The Financial Post: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/kevin-libin-kathleen-wynnes-sleazy-desperate-hydro-ploy-to-fool-ontarians-is-well-brilliant
Steve Aplin: http://canadianenergyissues.com/2017/02/23/torstar-inadvertently-hamfists-a-headline-thats-true-they-had-it-right-the-first-time-no-one-cant-you-read-that-right-cant-make-electricity-cheap-again/
Video of Kathleen Wynne announcement: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-view-kathleen-wynnes-liberals-bail-themselves-out-with-public-money-again