An open letter to MPPs Michael Gravelle, Bill Mauro, Premier Dalton McGuinty:
Where do I start? It is obvious that your government has lost its way when it comes to Ontario energy policies. The sudden cancellation of future wind turbines due to unknown potential health affects, the moratorium on the grossly generous FIT program, and now the approval by the Ontario Energy Board of rate hikes to compensate for interest rate over-charging by OPG/Hydro One clearly shows that your party is lost when it comes to the realities of this so-called green energy plan.
Regarding the wind turbines, how is it that the setback for off-shore turbines is five kilometres, yet on-shore setbacks are 550 meters? Why is it that we’re afraid to put these turbines too close to shorelines, but we’re OK with putting them in people’s back yards? This makes absolutely no sense.
Because of your government’s zeal to push it’s green energy plan, the City of Thunder Bay has invested a huge amount of time and money into wind farms in and around the city, and now must deal with a multi-million dollar lawsuit because it tried to create a balance between the Liberals’ insistence on this agenda and its own citizens.
We are yet to learn how much more it is going to cost once projects that have already had the green light get cancelled and even more lawsuits begin.
Whether the municipality or the provincial government pays for this mess, the bottom line is we, the taxpayers, are going to be on the hook for it.
As for the FIT program whereby solar and other green energy off-grid power systems are set up by average citizens and businesses on their own lands and at their own cost, this too has become a red herring. It was obvious right from the get-go that the guaranteed price rate for feed-in excess power was exorbitant and not cost effective. Yes, you have reduced the guaranteed rate, but at the expense of those who have already invested serious money in good faith, and I fear, at the expense of power-using customers and Ontario taxpayers as a flurry of class-action lawsuits start.
Now, the Ontario Energy Board has approved yet another rate increase on top of the upcoming 46-per-cent rate hike already predicted over the next five years, because OPG/Hydro One made yet another mistake by over-charging interest rates on delinquent accounts. Those who use the services are now expected to pay for the $18-million penalty. It is obvious the OEB has this delusional expectation that regardless of circumstances, costs will be passed on to end users and/or taxpayers. End of story.
I have a suggestion. Why doesn’t the OEB pull its pompous, out-of-touch head out of its butt and tell OPG/Hydro One to recoup those costs through efficiencies within their operations? The private sector has been forced to do that over the last couple of years because they simply could not continue to pass on their costs to their customers. The OEB, as do all government-regulated boards, has to come to the realization that the days of “cost-plus” are gone.
With these and other past mistakes, it is clear that publicly-held and -controlled entities cannot manage nor control costs effectively. With that realization, perhaps it is time to seriously look at privatizing OPG/Hydro One. Obviously, there will be those who will suggest that doing so will lead to even higher costs. But given that such entities as TBayTel have generated revenues for the city and have managed well in a fiercely competitive market, I see no reason why OPG/Hydro One couldn’t follow that same model.
People of Thunder Bay and Ontario should be mad as hell over this debacle created by your government, and rightly so. I know I am. I am a believer that we must make the move to greener, more efficient practices, but the transition must be done over many years, not by tomorrow, and not at any cost.
Len Day, Thunder Bay