Society of Energy Professionals: McGuinty turns his back on Ontario

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Jan. 22, 2010) – Premier McGuinty’s backroom Samsung deal means he’s given up on Ontarians’ ability to manage their own electricity system, says the leader of Ontario’s energy professionals.

“The Premier may be talking clean electricity and jobs,” said Rod Sheppard, President of the Society of Energy Professionals, “but make no mistake about it, this is no way to build an electricity system.”

Sheppard noted the government owns Ontario Power Generation and Hydro One, and has a leasing agreement with Ontario’s Bruce Power. “These are companies that with the right support are entirely capable of providing all the reliable, affordable, green electricity Ontarians need, but the Premier has turned his back on them.”

Sheppard’s comments were in reaction to yesterday’s announcement that the government of Ontario has signed a deal with Samsung and the Korean Electric Power Company (KEPCO) to turn over almost 2,500 megawatts of Ontario’s electricity generation and transmission systems to the South Korean firms. In return, Samsung has promised to “work with major partners to attract four manufacturing plants” for the manufacture of solar and wind power components, which, if completed, are scheduled to be in place by 2015. These will, the Premier says, provide 1,440 permanent jobs.

“I can’t think of anyone who’s participating in the Government’s programs for building new, green electricity who shouldn’t be insulted by this,” Sheppard said.

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), he noted, an agency “full of skilled, talented people whose job is to sign deals for new electricity” were completely bypassed. “Instead, the Premier and former Energy and Infrastructure Minister Smitherman are out signing deals on their own.”

As well, he said, all those involved-in good faith-in the processes set up by the OPA to buy into the new, green electricity system are apparently shut out of 2,500 megawatts of new electricity. “I’m guessing most of those people and companies are rethinking their futures today.”

The final irony, he notes, is that KEPCO is a majority Korean government-owned power company that enjoys the confidence and support of their owners. “Would South Korea invite OPG in to run any of their electricity business? I don’t think so.”

“This will be very, very expensive electricity,” Sheppard said.

The Society of Energy Professionals represents more than 7,800 professional employees-engineers, scientists, middle management, information technology specialists, etc. in Ontario’s electricity sector. The Society supports the government’s conservation and renewable-power goals, and believes the Ontario’s economy and public needs affordable, reliable, and secure electricity.
/For further information: please contact Brian Robinson at (416) 716-6438/

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