A Liberal power surge

Many Ontarians can’t keep paying these ever-escalating fuel bills

By Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun

The two biggest issues in next year’s election will be the HST and the price of electricity. As consumers open their hydro bills this month, they’re getting sticker shock from the extra 8% the HST has added.

Last week, both Opposition parties were hammering at the Liberals for other sneaky costs that have been quietly added to their already ballooning bills.

Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats were especially effective.

First, they raised the issue of the $60 million that was paid to Bruce Power in 2009 for energy they didn’t produce.

This added an extra $15 per household per year.

On Thursday, they revealed utility companies had been allowed to boost their expected profit margins to 9.85% from 8.01% — although utilities actually came in at around 3.32% last year — by the Ontario Energy Board. The hike is estimated to cost consumers $240 million annually.

While the government claims rate hikes will pay for new transmission, that just isn’t the case.

Horwath pointed out this hike will simply go from our wallets to corporate profits.

Then there’ve been the Smart Meters. They were supposed to be a tool to help families manage their bills.

Instead, they’ve become a weapon — a blunt instrument to batter the wallets of consumers at a time when we can least afford it.

The root of the problem is the government’s “obsession to prematurely retire Ontario’s coal plants,” says Energy Probe’s executive director Lawrence Solomon.

Where decades ago, coal plants were dirty and EP opposed them, they’ve become much cleaner and most harmful emissions have been removed.

“Coal has become a very clean and inexpensive form of power, but this is what the government has decided to target out of a misplaced fear of carbon dioxide,” Solomon said.

Germany, the U.S., the U.K., India and China are building coal plants, he said.

Solomon said the government is wasting vast amounts of money on transmission to bring remote wind and solar energy to urban markets and should end subsidies to unsustainable forms of generation.

“If the government simply put the power system on a market basis, we would see rates drop,” he said.

Cash-strapped consumers will reach a point where they just can’t pay their bill, Solomon said.

This has happened in the U.K., where energy costs are a leading contributor to poverty.

“If the province keeps going along this way, there will be many people who think of themselves as middle class who all of a sudden realize they can’t keep paying these ever-escalating fuel bills, and there will be subsidy programs put in place to deal with fuel poverty,” he said.

Premier Dalton McGuinty likes to brag about how we got through the long, hot summer without worrying about energy shortages.

The flip side of that coin is the economic downturn and the decimation of the manufacturing sector means demand for electricity has tanked.

If the manufacturing sector ever comes back the demand for electricity will soar.

The only thing growing in the energy sector is the number of bloated bureaucracies. Where once we had just Ontario Hydro, we now have Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, the Independent Electricity System Operator, the Ontario Power Authority and the Ontario Energy Board.

PC Leader Tim Hudak reported the OPA has gone from 15 to 300 bureaucrats.

“They’ve not produced the long-term energy plan yet, despite five years on the job, but they seem more than happy to be the propaganda arm for your expensive energy experiments,” Hudak told McGuinty in the House Thursday.

We pay through the nose for private companies to get an almost 10% rate hike. We pay six-figure salaries to fatcat bureaucrats. We pay for a flawed plan to close coal plants.

Fatcats get fatter. We get poorer.

Thank your government next October.

15 thoughts on “A Liberal power surge

  1. My thoughts exactly.Ever since Harris broke up Ontario Hydro,we have been getting dinged a nickel here,a dime there for all these different companys and their bloated structures.And,what is the problem with clean coal?Oh,I forgot,cheaper bills,and less profit for a half dozen different companys,instead of one.

  2. Well, now we know why the McGuinty government is calling for the public consultation.

    John Spears
    Business Reporter
    “Ontario is failing to attract big international pension funds and other large pools of capital to finance reconstruction of its electricity infrastructure, says Michael Nobrega of the giant OMERS pension fund.”

    “”Nobrega, who oversees $48 billion in investment assets, told the Ontario Energy Association that Ontario needs to appoint an independent reviewer to map out a collaborative approach by government, investors and utilities toward renewing the power system.”


  3. Lynne:

    Good find!

    That’s not a bad plan — if you want to completely turn Ontario power generation completely over to multi-nationals and foreign interests.

    I prefer the comment of Goulding:
    “Goulding said the feed-in-tariff program, which grants renewable energy producers fixed prices at higher than market rates, is a mistake.

    Goulding likened it to paying less-productive employees higher wages than their workmates. ”

    The Article by “watts-‘is-name” said:
    “…we have brought 8,000 megawatts of cleaner energy online”

    I wonder what that 8000 Watts consists of — maybe he hopes to… Wind Turbines would count for 1,100 — the way they count — what’s the rest? Anyone know?

    He asks:
    “Does Hudak also want us to use typewriters instead of computers? Does he want us to replace our aging meters with outdated technology rather than the state-of-the-art meters we are installing?”

    Can you afford to run your computer folks? Do you have the extra cash for doubled bills?

    We now seem to have a “Let them eat cake!” message firmly entrenched in the minds of our leaders. I am re-reading my history books to see if a parallel comes to mind — hmmm! I am thinking of something — but it’s just out of reach in my memory… something about revolution and a guillotine — help me out here folks! 🙂

    He says:
    “Today, more than 4.1 million smart meters are measuring with more precision our hourly electricity use. They are helping electricity distribution companies pinpoint and respond to power outages faster, and are providing an essential platform for the development of a modern smart grid system that is critical to our energy future.”

    Now, in our neighborhood somebody comes by with a transceiver which queries the meter. So clearly there is no communication to head office — there could be someday — if the communication network were installed. Does anyone know of any Ontario location where Smart Meters are read remotely and in real time via a network of transceivers and routers? This is a serious question folks! Any answers?

    He says::
    “Smart meters are also enabling time-of-use pricing, which means the price we pay for electricity better reflects the cost of producing it at peak and off-peak times. In the evenings and on weekends, power is less expensive than at peak times. More than 800,000 Ontarians are now on time-of-use billing and have an opportunity to change their behaviour to shift their usage. It is a change coming to Ontario and it may take some time for all of us to adjust to it.”

    Having looked carefully at production of Ontario Power…. As I mentioned previously it is possible to look at the records and determine that the majority of the time suppliers offer 30,000 MW capacity — and we use about half — except for some hours where we consume about 18,000 to 24000 MWH. This is significantly below the peak capacity of the system and should allow us to be using only the cheapest power. So — the question is — what problem is being solved? Are Smart Meters a solution looking for a problem?


    How Can Brad Duguid make statements which are clearly based on ignorance and expect us to believe them? Is his assumption that we are stupid? Does he have a staff which is incapable of providing the facts? Perhaps his office needs a capable broom — so it can be swept clean of incompetent sycophants?


  4. This article by Brad Duiguid sounds like someone wrote this that is living on another planet.

    Duguid is obviously mad at being made to look like a “goof” and is striking back in the only way he can………unbelievable that we have such an “incapable and useless” individual holding an office in our Provincial Government!

    McGuinty is getting whacked on all sides in addition to Bradley and between the two of them they couldn’t butter a piece of bread let alone run a Province!

  5. Quixote:

    It is even better. May I pass on some of my Research? I happen to have the power production system fed into a SQL database.

    This is the Date, Ontario Draw, Hour, Total Power from the data since September 1, 2009 till September 14, 2010:

    Actual output below! This query returned all hours where power draw was greater or equal to 25,000MW. There were only four hours.




    Note that the Ontario demand is always less than the total power produced at the hours of maximum draw fro Ontario.

    This means that we were EXPORTING at the four hours of maximum power draw. So much for shortage! So much for needing to charge extra during hours of surplus!

    Some further thoughts:

    Typically suppliers bid 30,000 MW of power availability every day. There are 8,760 hours every year that we need to supply.

    So one question is this: How many hours do we exceed more than 75% off the available capacity.

    I will not put the atucla data here as it is 135 rows. So that means we exceeded 75% of the typical available capacity 135/8760 = 1.54% of the time.

    This happened on the 18 days shown here:
    May 26
    July 5,6,7,8,14,15
    August 3,4,5,10,11,30
    September 1,2

    Not bad for a system that “needs more capacity” and “more wind power”.

    So could I say that someone is lying? Could I say that they are misinformed?

    Forgive me, but I will only do this once since interest will be so limited. Below is the SQL code that supplied the 135 hours in case some technical person says I do not have the correct information. I do this in case some official wants to comment that I don’t have my facts correct!

    The table structure is given below…

    where ONTARIO_DEMAND >= 22500 and T_POWER_PROD > ONTARIO_DEMAND and P_DATE>=’9/1/2009′
    order by P_DATE

    Table Structure:


  6. Scott:

    “Claim” may be the right word.

    I have seen that report, and just reviewed it again — I think there may be some old facilities with new contracts in that mix.

    It would be interesting to dissect that claim!

  7. Sorry — should have included this example which shows that at least these “New sources” were built quite a few years ago…


    Matthias G. S. (1950), Swift Rapids G.S. (1917), Minden G.S. (On August 21, 1935, the first current reached Orillia from this plant.)

    My Grandfather worked on some of those plants…

    Like Steve McIntyre says — watch the pea under the thimble and be real careful before you place any bets.

    I don’t have time to check the rest. Maybe another day!

    Maybe someone in the group would like to take on the job of researching this report and verifying the claims of “new capacity”. I will be happy to arrange web publication!

  8. David, there are so many claims to be disgusted by I completely forgot I knew much of the hydro was new contracting for old sites!
    Now that you mention it, I recall an article in the local, Orillia, paper that astonished me. They had hydro facilities which were not getting contracted rates and therefore the local utility had a very lean year when demand, and market prices, dropped.

    So the OPA gave them guaranteed rates.
    They are doing much better.

    The figure on the report that popped for me was for Renewable Energy:
    Capacity Sought (MW) 3830MW
    Capacity Procured (MW) 6622MW

    That isn’t planning.

    MORATORIUM please.

    Overall totals for hydro in 2009 weren’t significantly different than in 2004, and this year they’ll be way down from both.
    I did start to bring that OPA list into a spreadsheet – maybe I’ll revisit it prior to the next election.

    I expect mangling of words on the iPad – but last night’s “those with active smart meters cave view their usage online” was especially nice. I intended to communicate only that they can view usage online.

  9. On the biomass subject: Up our way “logging” was the backbone of our economy…..it is being legislated out of existence with The Wildland’s Act that McGuinty is claiming will “save” our forests for future generations and is using the “Endangered Species Act” to declare the surrounding Forests around Algonquin Park is home to a turtle and can’t be logged anymore due to these little critters!

    His whole scheme appears to have a rather ugly end game here! Stop logging and save these trees for a BioMass Generating system that will basically use all our trees to generate electricity! Throw everyone out of work who have managed the cutting of Forests locally for over 140 years and strip and rape the land to produce electricity we don’t need!

    This man knows no bounds for destruction of Ontario and it’s Citizens!

  10. Just a quick note about Bio-mass…
    Want to pay more for furniture and Kitchen Cabinets?

    See the original article here.

    ” Remember that we have had a down housing market and a recession so that you have to think very carefully about why you are seeing what you are seeing…

    The news supports that there could be a significant price increase. However, I have just started to look at the issue.

    For those who are interested you can follow some of it here.

    Link here:


  11. Atikokan Biogeneration. What a laugh. The environmental damage caused by putting in the coal generation station wiped out walleye lakes. Railway line had to be built to deliver coal. Steep Rock Mine with its poisoned waters will threaten a whole watershed when the pit (was a lake) overflows. This is a town that couldn’t care less about the environment so bring on the biofuel. 1% of Ontario’s Allowable Harvest may not sound like much but that is more to do with using percentages to get an answer that doesn’t look bad. A 1% harvest cannot be supported by local forest as there are competing companies. Are forests going to be cut by diesel fuelled fellerbunchers, put on to diesel fuelled logging trucks and transported to Atikokan? If it takes pellets, the pellets have to be processed using heat (electricity sucking furnaces) and compressed. All this to produce power in a remote part of Ontario that has no need of extra power? Keep the Atikokan plant going? Maybe. The impact to the local environment has been done, but why this insane idea of using wood pellets? This may be a bit better idea than stripping down peat bogs and burning peat but not much but not better than keeping coal and putting in scrubbers. Someone has taken something that sounded like a good idea and followed through without understanding what it meant. Modification needed will make the generating station pretty much scrap material. Scott: Mangling words? As long as good communication is being achieved it is more important than worrying about a few typos or dealing with technology. Back to the other insane idea that wind will provide anything meaningful to our grids system.

  12. “the government claims rate hikes will pay for new transmission”
    Transmission for Industrial Wind Turbines. Not to create a more efficient or upgraded system.
    We will be charged obscenely and have way more stray voltage leaking all over.

  13. Food, Power Shelter…

    Pick One!

    The new Green Ontario — sickly green!

    Where manufacturing has a new mission — move em out li’l doggies!

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