The 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