Callous Ontario Liberals ignore wind power’s victims

IMG_0899Sun News, Jerry Agar
It is heart wrenching to see and feel the pain of fellow Ontarians breaking down in tears as they explain how the Liberal government drove them from their homes. But to understand how cold and callous our current political leadership is in this province, you need to experience it.

Rebecca Thompson’s documentary, Down Wind: How Ontario’s Green Dream Turned into a Nightmare (Surge Media Productions), airs on Sun News Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. It is a story of reckless, agenda-driven politics resulting in shattered lives. The Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act isn’t just an economic failure; it is an act of brutal indifference to the human cost of politics.

A cost ignored by people living far from the thump of the giant wind turbines, secure in their downtown Toronto homes and politically correct theories; a safe distance from places like Ripley, Clear Creek and Lucknow, Ontario. Many may not care – worshiping as they do at the altar of so-called green energy – that the jobs promised by the Liberals through their Green Energy Act were never delivered, while the cost of hydro skyrocketed. But the human cost should matter to us all. Read article

Hydro woes spark industry exodus fears in Dufferin

jobOrangeville Banner, By Chris Halliday
The county is in danger of losing a large segment of its industrial and business base if energy prices continue to skyrocket. With dramatic electricity and natural gas hikes on the horizon in Ontario, whispers that several of the county’s larger businesses are mulling whether to move elsewhere are spreading through Dufferin.

“When you start hearing them talk about a year or two max and then moving on, that is a concern to anybody listening,” said Pete Renshaw, president of the Greater Dufferin Chamber of Commerce (GDACC). “Even if they’re just rumours of large businesses leaving.”

This isn’t a problem immune to Dufferin. Electricity rates across the province are expected to rise more than 30 per cent over the next three years. Coupled with natural gas hikes, those spiking energy costs are pitting industry in a position where some of the county’s heavy-hitters may debate an Ontario exodus. “I hear it from a CAO here, a CAO there,” Renshaw said. “We’re one of the highest, if not the highest (energy) priced province in the country,” Renshaw added. Read article

To understand Ontario’s election, take a careful look at your hydro bill

bill of goodsThe Record, Luisa D’Amato
It’s so easy to get sidetracked by the distractions. Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne goes for a morning jog in Kitchener’s Victoria Park, leaving a reporter out of breath as he tries to follow. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak gets kicked off a Toronto subway when he tries to make an announcement, because his team didn’t get permission.

These events grab the headlines because they’re anecdotes, easy to tell. But they have nothing to do with what a political party will or won’t do for you if it wins. On the other hand, if you look at your hydro bill, and what each party will do about it, it tells you something significant about each of them.

The cost of electricity is a key issue. Ontario’s electricity rates have soared and are now among the highest in North America. In part, this is because of the Liberal government’s “green energy” plan that offers subsidies to those that put up wind turbines and solar panels, then sell the power back to the power grid. Read article

Managing energy rage

electricity costPeter Epp, Chatham Daily News
There hasn’t been this much angst about energy costs in Ontario for quite some time. Natural gas prices are rising, hydro-electricity prices are rising, and gasoline and diesel fuel prices are rising. It’s a perfect storm – and you can run but you can’t hide. If you own a home, or a business, or an automobile, these price increases are going to impact your life and your wallet in some way.

The latest jolt comes from the Ontario Energy Board, which has approved an increase in time-of-use prices, effective May 1. The energy board estimates that increase will mean an extra $2.83 a month for the average hydro customer in Ontario, or $33.96 annually. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s still an increase, and part of a pattern that we’re going to see unfold in this province in the coming years. Last December, the Ontario government announced that electricity rates in this province will probably be rising by 42% over the next five years. That’s an enormous increase, but its impact likely won’t be fully comprehended by most customers until they open their bill.

Part of the reason for the increases can be laid at the feet of Ontario’s Liberal government, which five years ago introduced the Green Energy Act. The cost to carry this program was never completely understood by dreamy-eyed bureaucrats at Queen’s Park. The legislation has required a major subsidization of wind and solar power projects. And while both of those forms of energy generation might someday be sustainable, they aren’t anywhere near that point yet. Indeed, it’s been estimated that Ontario’s green energy projects cost $1.2 billion more than the value of electricity they generated, according to a study done in 2012. Read article

Hydro costs are crippling Ontario

throw money ladder windWindsor Star
Tales of skyrocketing household hydro bills are commonplace across Ontario. And understandably everyone — even with modest bills — should worry for the simple reason that it’s only going to get worse.

Thanks to the Liberal government’s “long-term energy plan,” Ontarians can count on their electricity rates going up 33 per cent over the next three years. And within five years, the average monthly bill of $125 will rise to $178 — a 42 per cent increase

For individuals and families, it’s going to be a huge burden. But what’s sometimes forgotten is that soaring energy costs are having a serious impact on the economy. According to the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario, the province already has the highest industrial rates in North America. Based on 2012 power prices, AMPCO — representing almost 40 of the largest power consumers in the province — says Ontario industries pay 7.6 cents to 9.4 cents for a kilowatt hour for electricity. Read article

One year anniversary of CAW/UNIFOR turbine

CAWThe Shoreline Beacon, by Wayne McGrath
We are approaching a dark anniversary of what I believe to a very bad and hurtful declaration pushed into our community by the combined forces of UNIFOR (CAW) and our own provincial government.

8,760 hours (one year) of suffering by members of this community should be considered a serious crime. The evidence is clear and precise. Industrial wind turbines project two levels of noise that effect certain people in a most horrid way. Currently, about 1,800 turbines are built and another 4,900 are planned to eventually total 6,736 turbines ruining rural Ontario. Within two weeks of the CAW turbine starting, 16 complaints had been made and that number kept increasing throughout the summer. If you used just 16 complaints for one turbine and multiply by 6,736 projected turbines, 108,000 Ontario citizens are and will become sick. The reality of actual facts makes this estimate very low.

When you know that Ontario produces more power than needed and the government has no intention of altering future turbine developments, you have to wonder where common sense disappeared to. Cronyism is thriving. One of the first companies to reap the windfall from turbine subsidies is now the president of the Liberal Party of Canada. This may partially explain why the CAW turbine, with no setback distance, was allowed to proceed despite the government’s own 550 m setback rule. Read article

Hydro ‘debt retirement charge’ has to go

electricity costChristina Blizzard, Toronto Sun
TORONTO – It’s that annoying, pesky line on your hydro bill. “Debt Retirement Charge.” Of all the e-mails I get, the most frequent and the most frustrated are about the hefty charge the DRC adds to your bill.

Homeowners, especially seniors and others on a fixed income, are angry. They’re feeling it all the more as this brutal winter pushes heating costs to the stratosphere. Many seniors bought their homes in the 1960s and ’70s, when the old Ontario Hydro told them to “Live better electrically.”

They heated their homes with hydro, thinking the low rates would continue forever. Now they’re paying soaring prices, soaring taxes — and the infuriating DRC. You pay HST on top of the DRC. The DRC came about as a result of the “stranded debt,” created when the old Ontario Hydro was split up into separate entities by the Mike Harris government. Read article

Soaring energy prices making Ontario look dim for manufacturers

next terror protest 009Adam Radwanski, The Globe and Mail
For businesses in Brockville, the attempt to lure them over the border wasn’t new. But the pitch was. Earlier this winter, manufacturers in the Eastern Ontario community received a letter reminding them that their province’s industrial electricity rates were projected to rise by 33 per cent over the next five years, and 55 per cent by 2032.

“As a hedge against these increases,” it suggested, “setting up an operation just across the border in St. Lawrence County, New York, may be a competitive strategy you should consider.” Such overtures, if not in written form then made more casually, are becoming increasingly common in Ontario. While they may not find immediate takers, they are emblematic of the mounting economic threat from an energy-cost trajectory that – following a series of questionable policy decisions – the province now seems powerless to do much about. Read article

Peaceful province wide protest against hydro rates – April 4

Join-the-Fight-against-Hydro-Rates-logoThe Millstone
On April 4, at noon, there is a planned Province Wide Hydro Rate Protest to be held in 24 towns and cities across Ontario, including a protest in Carleton Place.

The “Joint the fight against Hydro Rates” originated with a small group in Dryden, Ontario and has grown in momentum and membership, united with a common anger and outrage over escalating Hydro rates and surcharges, Hydro One billing issues and lack of accountability.

Doug Leitch is the local organizer for Carleton Pace, Almonte, Pakenham, Perth, Smiths Falls and area protest. We need as many people as we can get to join us on April 4 to make our voice heard and let us send a clear message that the out of control escalation of Hydro rates and charges, the aberrant customer service and lack of accountability has to end. No longer should ratepayers pay the cost for billions of dollars in government waste and mismanagement, no longer should ratepayers be continually tapped for poor business decisions, waste and unchecked spending and no longer should ratepayers be forced to choose between paying their hydro bill or buying food or being able to staying in their homes. Read article

Find a protest near you

Farmers object to wind turbines, survey says

animal wind farmFarmers Forum
LONDON — The debate over wind turbines in Western Ontario is generating some lively opinions among farmers with a clear majority strongly opposed, a Farmers Forum survey suggests. A random survey of 50 farmers at the London Farm Show on March 5, found that 58 % disapproved of wind turbines.

Just 20 % of survey respondents approved and 22 % were neutral on the issue. Among those who had an opinion, farmers opposed to turbines outnumbered those who approved by almost three-to-one. Almost 80 % of those who disapprove believe the wind turbines are too costly and are an inefficient source of electricity.

“The capital cost of erecting the wind turbine in the first place is far in excess of what I would think a reasonable return on the investment would be in terms of the energy that is generated by one of those,” said Harold Jackson, a cash crop farmer from Middlesex County. “I don’t believe the economics are there; this is a money grab,” said a Brant County cash crop farmer who noted that he has worked near wind turbines. “I believe there are health issues. I don’t care what the experts say. Read article

One solar panel can’t connect to grid, but over 100 wind turbines can…

CTV News
It was a $100,000 investment in a greener future, but four-years after Rita Van Geffen invested her retirement savings into a ground mount solar panel, she’s only now seeing a return and not the kind she was looking for.

In April 2010, Van Geffen invested in a solar panel, which has yet to be connected to the grid. “It’s doing absolutely nothing. I can’t get it connected,” she says. “I believed in green energy and I thought it was a good return on my money.” Read article

CTV solar

Green Energy “Disaster” Stumbling Block to Expansion

Mayor of Sarnia bradleyFirst Monday
Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley says the province’s Green Energy Policy has been a “disaster” that is jeopardizing Chemical Valley expansion and has left taxpayers with a billion dollar asset that’s mothballed. Bradley told the Rotary Club of Sarnia Bluewaterl and the cost of power is a major discussion that could determine whether NOVA Chemicals launches a multi billion expansion in Sarnia. “The Province appears to be strapped by the Green Energy Act and isn’t moving on the issue.”

He lambasted energy minister Bob Chiarelli who compares energy costs in Ontario with places like Tennessee. “But we aren’t competing with Tennessee, we are competing with Louisiana and Texas which have similar energy requirements and are significantly more competitive.” Bradley says he understands the issues behind coal to produce power but believes it is unreasonable for the Province to shut Lambton Generating Station. “There is a billion dollar asset sitting there and the energy minister won’t consider alternatives.” Read article

Power from water still cheapest to generate

next terror protest 009Bullet News Niagara, By Nancy Reynolds
Is there no end to the way Dalton McGuinty found to victimize the ratepayers of Ontario, during his time as premier? The Green Energy Act, which sounds so good, has proven to be a great reason why hydro bills are increasing. The act lacks protection for ratepayers now and in the future. Make no mistake, we all want green energy. We want to exploit wind, sun and water, but we don’t want to pay inflated prices forever.

Start-up costs are just that, but they don’t settle in and stay. Who decided we had to buy all available wind and solar power forever at prices almost double in some cases and even more in others? Hydraulic power remains the cheapest to generate – hence Beck III. Available water from the Niagara River is supposed to keep Adam Beck generating station running full out, thus creating cheap, available electricity. That was the reason for building tunnels and canals. Read article

Dim Dippers

andrea_horwathTom Adams Energy
Ontario’s NDP are now trying to position themselves as defenders of the province’s battered electricity consumers. The NDP’s concerns are getting lots of news headlines like this and this and this, but the solutions the Dippers propose deserve more scrutiny.

Ontario’s NDP latest energy pronouncements remain mired in the confusion they have added to Ontario’s energy file. The NDP have been stalwart supporters of the Liberal’s Green Energy Act, so it is a bit rich for them to now complain about the rate increases that ugly legislation is causing.

Do the NDP propose to expand or not expand wind and solar power? If they want more wind power, who will they be pushing their turbines on? These questions remain unanswered.

To the extent that the NDP claim to address the root cause of Ontario’s rates increases, energy critic Peter Tabuns argues that “Ontario has signed costly deals with private power companies that have created a glut in supply that must be exported at a lower price than the generation cost.”       Read article

P.E.I. arenas say their new wind turbines an expensive ‘burden,’ want them removed

PEINational Post
Several Prince Edward Island rinks that were convinced to make the expensive conversion to wind power, but never saw the promised savings, are now trying to get rid of the trouble-plagued turbines and win compensation for their troubles.

“We went into debt to purchase this windmill on the promise that it would make us money and it would help us with our power costs,” said Tom Albrecht, vice-president of the South Shore Actiplex in Crapaud, P.E.I., which spent $70,000 and received another $230,000 from the federal and provincial governments to install a turbine.

“The bottom line is buy us out and give us our money back.”

Last week, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada apparently decided to shut down turbines at at least some of the rinks, as it worked through technical problems, according to Darin Craig, past president of the South Shore Actiplex board. Read article

Hydro rates could climb 68 per cent

400_cp24_hydro_meters_100927North Bay Nipissing
PARRY SOUND – The provincial government has rolled out its long-term plan for electricity and local MPPs aren’t buying. “The reason they’re calling it 20 years is so they can say to you how little the increase is,” said Progressive Conservative energy critic Vic Fedeli. “They’re planning on absolutely no investment being counted on after the first three years.”

Fedeli states that looking at a five-year plan, electricity rates are going up 68 per cent. “Under this long-term energy plan we have projected costs on average of over 20 years, because there are 20-year projections done by all the provinces including the province of Ontario and the project is 2.8 per cent,” stated Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli in a press conference on Dec. 4.

“Why don’t we talk about tomorrow morning? Basically 33 per cent in three years, 68 per cent in five years,” said Fedeli. “Those are the numbers that people should be sitting up and clearing their throats and rubbing their eyes and wondering what the heck happened to the Ontario I grew up in?” Read article

‘We’re penalized for conserving’

sign-the-petition1Recorder Times
ATHENS – “Enough is enough.” Michele Starkey has reached the end of her patience with the Ontario government. “When I got my last hydro bill and I saw they were requesting another increase in 2014 it made me see red.”

So the Athens’ resident took to social media and launched an online petition calling for Ontario’s Auditor General to investigate the proposed increases and review Hydro management. “I want to know why they are doing this and who approved it. They’re selling off surplus hydro below cost just to get rid of it and we’re being penalized for conserving.” Starkey blames government incompetence for creating a situation where higher prices are needed to compensate for poor management of the utility. She said it’s time for people to speak out.

She said recent Recorder and Times stories raising the spectre of local industry moving to the U.S. where electricity costs are half of Ontario’s prices confirms her sense that something must be done to stop the increases. Those rate hikes, announced early this month by energy minister Bob Chiarelli, are expected to add 42 per cent to the average hydro bill in three years. Starkey said the forecast increase will drive individuals and business out of the province. “Our area and all of Ontario will be a ghost town as people leave and jobs are lost.” Starkey has contacted Hydro One and the province’s ombudsman’s office and said she is dismayed over their lack of response.

“You feel you are on your own. You have to fight these people by yourself. But you can do something with people power.” Read article

Hydro barons mad with power

1297503452759_ORIGINALToronto Sun
TORONTO – Better get this column written before the power goes out and we retreat to our caves and candles. That’s where we’re headed, if the dimbulbs running Ontario’s electrical grid aren’t unplugged. Now, I think they’re even laughing at us.

When I watched Toronto Hydro’s new 12 Days of Christmas video on YouTube I assumed it was a Yuletide jest. It tells us to save energy by making ornaments from old incandescent bulbs and pine cones. It suggests we dine on such fare as “no bake” energy bars, “no cook” cheeseballs or chocolate coconut balls, “low cook” cheese dip and “no cook, low cook” fudge.” Excellent plan. We’ll keep our electrical bill down by eating nothing but raw food. I look forward to the “no cook” chicken. Perhaps it will be easier to digest in the dark.

Here’s my version of 12 Days, which was composed — by torchlight, presumably — some 300 years ago in deepest, darkest England. Altogether, now, folks, sing along…

On the 12th day of Christmas, the dimbulbs gave to us…
12 idled windmills,
11 workers snoozing
10 summer brownouts

Read article

Ontario is tilting at the wrong windmills

electricity_price_increaseThe Globe and Mail
In Ontario, the generation and pricing of electricity have become a never-ending story of confusion, secrecy, illogic and rising costs. The only thing that can be banked on with certainty is the rising cost. Earlier this month, the Liberal government released its latest long-term energy plan, an attempt to water down the cost-escalation brought on by the 2009 Green Energy Act – the gift that keeps on cooling the provincial economy and warming the opposition at Queen’s Park. The government is now promising residential electricity rate increases of 9.6 per cent next year, 5.8 per cent in 2015 and 15 per cent in 2016. Ten years from now, the average family’s bill will be 50 per cent more than today.

On Tuesday, the province’s Auditor-General looked into one part of the electricity mess, and discovered what appears to be excessive compensation and nest-feathering at Ontario Power Generation, the provincially owned utility. Pensions are more generous than in the province’s public service, and so is pay. Staffing levels are down 8.5 per cent since 2005, but the ranks of seniors managers are up 58 per cent. If OPG is overspending – and the auditor shows that it is – then those extra costs will be passed on to consumers. OPG generates roughly 60 per cent of the province’s power, so it only stands to reason that, as the auditor puts it, “its operating costs have a significant impact on the cost of electricity.” Read article

No surprise in higher electricity rates

08bryce_1-popupPeter Epp, Sarnia Observer
Given the Ontario government’s management of its energy assets over the past 10 years, nobody should be surprised with the announcement that electricity rates will be rising by 42% over the next five years.

The Liberals are in the process of closing its coal-fired electricity plants – plants that burned one of the cheapest fuels available – while using the authority of the Green Energy Act to permit the rapid development of wind and solar projects. The energy produced by these projects are environmentally sustainable and benign, but their owners/operators are paid large sums of money by the Ontario Power Authority… large sums when compared to the cost of burning coal.

And here’s something equally troubling. The electricity generated by wind turbines is actually quite small – an estimated two-tenths of 1% of Ontario’s power. Given the miniscule amount of electricity generated by wind turbines, and the high cost associated with its generation, it’s not surprising to learn that Ontario’s green energy projects actually cost $1.2 billion more than the value of electricity they generated in 2012. Wind turbines might be an environmental asset to the province, but from a financial perspective they continue to be a liability.

With that type of situation it’s not difficult to understand that something has to give, and that something is the cost of electricity. It’s going up. And, to borrow a phrase from the Friendly (and possibly the Green) Giant, it’s going waaaay up. Read article

CTV News: Price of electricity is going up

ctv

Wynne Liberals to jack hydro rates 42% over 5 years

wynne Mcguinty boondoggleToronto Sun
TORONTO – Ontario hydro bills are headed up, up, up. A new Long-Term Energy Plan shows that the average monthly residential bill of $125 will rise to $178 within five years a 42% hike.

Hydro bills are expected to dip slightly in 2019 to $177 a month, and then rise again until 2022 when they’ll hit $193 a month. A second decrease in prices is forecast for 2023-24 and then the trend for prices is onward and upward for the foreseeable future. A decision to defer or cancel new nuclear construction, coupled with a few other initiatives to contain costs, shaved $13 off what the monthly bill would have been in 2018 if the Ontario government had implemented its last Long-Term Energy Plan.

The new plan will save hydro ratepayers $3,800 between 2013-2030, the government says. Premier Kathleen Wynne signalled that she’ll consider income testing for the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, which currently takes 10% off the top of all hydro bills, and that could decrease some people’s bills past 2015. Read article

Wynne Government picks ratepayers pockets for wind turbine developers

wynneEnergy Probe, Parker Gallant
(November 16, 2013) While Premier Wynne was out jogging in the countryside – sans any turbines in the background – for the recently released Liberal promo, many of us ratepayers were having our pockets picked.

Looking only at the weekend of November 9 and 10, it appears that we ratepayers were supplying many wind developers with lots of cash that will allow them to make their maximum contributions to the Ontario Liberal Party.

Ontario exported over 115,000 megawatt hours in those two days and earned about $34,000, which will be billed out to customers at close to 10 cents a kilowatt hour while generating revenue of one quarter of 1 cent per kWh from our neighbours. At the same time we were paying gas plants to sit idle (as backup for wind turbines) and, presumably, Bruce Power to steam off nuclear and several wind developers for curtailed production. The all-in costs of those exports for the two days was in the range of $20 million, all of which will come from Ontario’s ratepayers. I also expect that OPG spilled some nice clean hydro without any compensation over those two days, which is a big part of their recent request to the OEB for payments on unregulated hydro to jump to $50. per MWh (5 cents per kWh) in the future rather than relying on the hourly Ontario energy price (averaging 2.6 cents per kWh so far in 2013 and 1 cent a kWh as I write this). Read article

Fact-based Perspective on the Green Energy Act

Town of Blue Mountains Mayor and Council,
Please refer to the chart (provided by Bill Palmer).  These data are rock-solid, as provided / published by the IESO. Please refer to my comments below. The message is simple and easy to understand.

output Palmer

Between the years  2000 and 2012 coal use (black curve) was reduced from about 42 TWh to about 4 TWh, a reduction of about 39 TWh.

Wind Power (terra cotta curve, lower right) has contributed essentially nothing to reducing Ontario’s coal use. (How could that small amount of wind, only about 4TWh even in 2012, possibly have replaced 39 TWh of coal???) Continue reading

GO Transit wind turbine producing 91% less power than expected

go_turbine.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxToronto Star
A wind turbine pilot project at a GO station in Mississauga, built for $620,000, is producing 91 per cent less electricity than originally projected. The turbine, unveiled at Lisgar GO station in April 2009, was expected to produce 98,550 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year — enough to power 80 per cent of the station’s electricity needs.

More than four years later, it is only producing around 9,000 kWh per year, or about 9 per cent of projections. That’s enough electricity to power a single typical household in Toronto for nine months. Metrolinx blamed “inconsistent localized wind levels” and new development in the area for the turbine’s underperformance. A spokeswoman still called it a “marginal success.”

“We are disappointed in the output for sure,” said Metrolinx media relations manager Anne Marie Aikins. “We don’t believe that this pilot project was a failure. It’s still producing renewable energy — that’s the most important. It’s contributing to the grid. It’s just not contributing as much as we hoped and expected it would.” Read article

Ontario electricity prices to rise next month

Electricity-bills-problem_1229London Community News
TORONTO – Ontario homeowners and small businesses can expect to see their electricity costs rise next month. The Ontario Energy Board says new electricity prices to take effect Nov. 1 will add three per cent — about $4 — to the average monthly household bill.

Time-of-use customers will pay 7.2 cents a kilowatt hours for off-peak, 10.9 cents for mid-peak and 12.9 cents for on-peak usage. The OEB says the increase is based on estimates for the coming year that include more generation from renewable sources along with a higher price for natural gas.

It says another significant factor in the price change is to account for variations between previous estimates and actual costs. The OEB says most Ontario households use about two-thirds of their power during off-peak hours.

Terence Corcoran: Ontario’s power disaster

DSCN0635Financial Post
For almost five years FP Comment has inveighed against the Ontario government’s profoundly uneconomic and costly electricity regime, a dictatorial and monopolist system that uses taxes and subsidies to greenify the power system of the largest provincial economy in Canada.  As I wrote in 2009: “In the midst of a major economic meltdown, and with looming budget deficits totaling more than $18-billion, now might not be the best time for the government of Ontario to be embarking on a crushing new green energy policy that could add billions to the province’s electricity costs. But Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is nothing if not immune to the folly of his own righteous policies and the fiscal crisis he faces as a result.”

Since then, via former Canadian banker Parker Gallant’s ongoing series — Ontario’s Power Trip — along with reports from consultant Tom Adams and many others, the growing absurdity of the regime has been detailed and documented on this page: Rising costs, market distorting feed-in-tariffs, subsidies to wind and solar, exports of power to New York at below cost — not to mention the $1-billion scandal over cancelled gas plants.

The burden on the economy has yet to be fully measured, but the cost to consumers is easy to identify.  In 2007, the all-in retail price of electricity was 10.38 cents per kilowatt hour. Today, the price for the same electricity is about 15.5 cents — a 50% increase imposed on consumers despite a recession that saw economic growth fall along with electricity demand. Read article

Ontario’s power sector needs major transformation, C.D. Howe says

electricity_price_increaseThe Province
Ontario’s power sector needs a major transformation — including setting it free from ministerial meddling — to tackle widespread inefficiencies and stem rising consumer prices, says a new C.D. Howe report released Wednesday. The province has “an electricity oversupply, a mismatch between generator capabilities and supply needs, rising prices for final consumers and a lack of cost transparency, along with a record of volatile, often contradictory, policies,” wrote A.J. Goulding in the report.

“The province should redesign its electricity generation procurement to incorporate market signals that would attract long-term least-cost generation sources while avoiding the procurement mistakes of the past,” he added in the report. Ontario’s energy bills have been rising steadily over the years. One factor is the provincial Liberal government’s subsidization of the production of renewable energy, including the Green Energy Act, which guarantees above-market rates for wind and solar electricity.

A report recently filed with the Ontario Energy Board said the average household will pay $600 more in 2016 for energy than it did in 2007 — with rates poised to be among the most expensive in North America. Read article

In Ontario, electricity bills are reason to weep

Electricity-bills-problem_1229Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail
If you live in Ontario, deciphering your electricity bill is like trying to crack the encryption on a BlackBerry. It might tax even the professional snoopers at the U.S. National Security Agency.

It’s not as simple as multiplying the amount of power you use each month by the market price per kilowatt-hour. Beyond your “electricity” charge, there’s a “delivery” charge, a “regulatory” charge, a “debt retirement” charge and an Orwellian-sounding “clean energy benefit.” And there’s a twisted political saga behind each one of them.

If you manage to unbundle it all, you’ll discover that the market value of the power you consume accounts for only a tiny portion of your bill. Most of the rest of what you fork out goes to pay for decades of bungled energy policy-making. And pay you will, for years to come.

Indeed, the most important charge is the one that doesn’t directly appear on most people’s monthly statements. It’s called the “global adjustment” fee and it’s tacked on to your electricity charge to cover the government’s cost of buying above-market-priced wind, solar, nuclear and gas-fired power from private operators. Oh, and part of it now goes to pay for those Toronto-area gas plants former premier Dalton McGuinty cancelled to win NIMBY votes in the 2011 election.

Ontario has managed to subvert the basic laws of supply and demand. Electricity has never been so abundant, yet Ontarians have never paid so much for it. Thousands of megawatts of new wind, solar and natural-gas generation has driven market prices to lows not seen in decades. But the cushy contracts awarded to wind and solar producers mean your monthly bill is going up. Read article

Paying for no wind energy sounds like Python sketch

wind-money330Peter Epp, Sudbury Star
It’s one thing for Ontario’s wind turbine owners to be paid extravagantly for the electricity they produce, but it’s quite another for them to be paid not to produce electricity. But that’s what’s happening. As of Wednesday, Ontario has been paying its wind generators not to produce electricity. The government says the deal will actually save money, because the turbine operators will halt production when the province’s electricity system is in surplus.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli says turbine operators will be paid reduced rates not to produce electricity, a deal that should save about $200 million a year. It sounds like a Monty Python sketch, but the problem is electricity generated at these volumes can’t be stored. Ontario has sold excess electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions such as New York state.

Sometimes the province has paid Quebec or New York to take its excess electricity. It doesn’t sound like a good business plan, but it’s not that unusual. For those who oppose Ontario’s Green Energy Act, enacted in 2009, this latest twist must strike them as ridiculous. Read article