More action needed on hydro bills, say Ontario mayors
The Mayor of North Frontenac has written to Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault on behalf of all the 115 municipalities demanding change to the Large Renewable Procurement process. While relieved the next round of bids is “suspended,” he says, the municipalities say more can be done to stop the dramatic rise of Ontario electricity bills.
October 5, 2016
Mayors across Ontario who united together as a result of a resolution being supported to have municipal support mandatory for industrial wind turbines are relieved that procurement of future wind power has been cancelled for now. The Mayors still feel however that the government needs to take very aggressive actions to address the ongoing crisis caused by high electricity costs in this province. Taking steps to not add $2.45 per month in 2020 does not address the real hardship being felt by our residents now. It is also not clear that the other measures announced by the government will even offset the ongoing increases in hydro rates that can be expected in the short term unless additional changes are made.
It was important that the Minster of Energy’s statement confirmed that the province has a “robust” supply of electricity and the procurement process could be cancelled without increasing greenhouse gas emissions. This provides room for more aggressive actions that will address increasing costs. Our tracking of wind turbine contracts shows that there are still many wind turbine projects in the pipeline that will add at least another $7.9 billion to electricity generating costs. This is equivalent to another $82 per annum for each Ontario electricity user. Seven of these projects are under construction but will not be connected to the grid until sometime this fall or in 2017. Another five have not been issued ‘Notices to Proceed’ as they are, or have been until recently, involved in Environmental Review Tribunal proceedings or other legal appeals of Renewable Energy Approvals. The final six projects are in the pre-MOECC submission stage. These include the five contracts issued in early 2016 plus one outstanding project from earlier FIT offers.
In all of these cases, the IESO has the option of terminating the agreement for any reason with very limited cost liabilities relative to the 20 year commitment to electricity that is not required. We respectfully ask that all industrial and solar wind projects be cancelled to avoid ongoing costs to our residents.
Mayor, North Frontenac
Councillor, County of Frontenac
See the letter sent to the Energy Minister, here. lettertoenergyminister-oct52016