When it comes to power in Ontario, we’re in the dark

By Margaret Wente  Globe and Mail

What could bring down Ontario’s Liberals? It’s not e-Health, a routine case of consultants run amok that ended with everyone being fired. It’s not even the hated HST, a huge tax increase that citizens have choked down in the line of duty with scarcely a whimper. No, it’s their power bills.

If you haven’t opened your September hydro bill yet, you’re in for a shock. Rates have risen 18 per cent this year to date, and that’s just the start. By this time next year – election time – Ontario power consumers will be forking over about twice as much (in nominal terms) as they did when Dalton McGuinty took office in 2003. Continue reading

Welcome to the wacky world of green power

By Margaret Wente  Globe and Mail

Lots of folks are thrilled by Ontario’s big new investment in clean energy. Among them is Jim Creeggan, who plays bass guitar for the Barenaked Ladies. That’s because the government is going to pay him to put solar panels on his roof. “It’s a thrill to be able to power my own lights while, at the same time, contributing to my city’s electrical needs,” he enthuses. “I’m glad solar power is getting out of the fringe and into the mainstream.”

Should the rest of us be enthused? Maybe not. In solar terms, Toronto is not exactly Southern California. Even there, nobody has figured out how to make solar power cheap. The government will pay Mr. Creeggan and other solar producers around 80 cents a kilowatt hour for the power they sell back to the grid. That’s about 15 times more than the current spot price that consumers now pay for power. The difference will eventually show up on their electricity bills. Continue reading