The hydro bill shell game plays on

shellgame

The shell game recently announced to the taxpayers of Ontario by Premier Wynne and her trained seals is contained in these statements: “Bringing down rates by 25% and fixing the system’s structure — that’s the approach that I believe in. I think it’s better for Ontario. And I know it’s fairer on families.”

The media isn’t buying it. They clearly describe how the rate reduction will happen, and the shifting of dollars to accomplish the claim of “fixing the system’s structure” has been widely discredited.  Wynne’s gambit is reported as a “shell game” or as “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  Perhaps the Premier should have gone about her plan without the fanfare associated with a news conference and press release and she may have avoided some of the negative attention!

Avoiding negative feedback was something Bob Chiarelli managed as Energy Minister when he shifted almost $500 million in electricity costs to the delivery line of our hydro bills, almost unnoticed.   All he had to do was make a simple change to regulation 275/04.

But there is no doubt that move, effective July 1, 2013, had an impact on the delivery line and was a concern mentioned by Premier Wynne in her speech on January 19, 2017, as reported by the CBC when she said, “The delivery charge is something that comes up repeatedly. I am hearing it consistently as I talk to people across the province.”

The July 1, 2013 change, as noted in the Search Laws Web page, simply added the following to the “Delivery” clause 3.(2) regulation:

“Note: On July 1, 2013, subsection (2) is amended by adding “and” at the end of clause (c) and by adding the following clause: (See: O. Reg. 405/12, ss. 1, 5) all charges related to losses incurred in the distribution of electricity, except for such amounts that are already included in regulatory charges under subsection 4 (2).”*

That simple regulation change effectively increased the delivery line costs by $500 million ** while reducing the electricity costs by the same amount. One should suspect Minister Chiarelli, at that time, recognized rates had increased 28% from May 1, 2009 to May 1, 2013 and would increase by another 40% over the next five years. In the latter case when he released his version of the LTEP in December 2013 the forecast for rate increases had climbed to 42%. Presumably by shifting the costs of “line losses” he felt he would be able to add more intermittent and unreliable wind and solar to the grid.

On June 27, 2013 the Ontario Energy Board issued their instructions to the local distribution companies telling them to comply with the regulatory change. That letter said: “Changes to the Bill Presentation Regulation that come into force on July 1, 2013 require that costs associated with losses be shown differently for billing purposes than they are today, as described in section 2 below.”*

The shift of moving “line losses” from the electricity line to the delivery line immediately increased distribution costs by 15%** so it should come as no surprise to the Premier that “The delivery charge is something that comes up repeatedly”.

Dalton McGuinty started this shell game when he was the premier; now Premier Wynne and her appointees to the Energy Portfolio simply follow along.

The Ontario Liberal government clearly believes we will never find the pea!

* My emphasis.

** Based on average line losses of 3.7% (4.628 terawatts) as reported by the OEB in the 2015 Yearbook of Distributors.

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4 thoughts on “The hydro bill shell game plays on”

  1. Thanks, Parker, for adding one more example to the list of cost transfers that the Liberals have used to fool the public about the nature of, and reasons for, electricity bill increases. The Toronto Star, I notice, continues to toe the government line, but many others in the media and in the general public are beginning to catch on. The truly disturbing part about the most recent 25 per cent switch to taxpayers and future ratepayers is that, as one columnist noted, it may be seen by millennials as just a “switch to rich taxpayers”, so they (i.e. the young) don’t need to worry about it. It is the same mentality that the Liberals are counting on at both the federal and provincial levels to make their young supporters ignore the immense increases in public indebtedness.

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  2. Laughing when the woman the Premier was speaking to started to speak about her advisors, said it all. Right then the photo op came to an abrupt end. Did any one else notice that?
    Perhaps the caller went on to suggest that her advisors are incompetent.
    Thank you Parker for the consistent work you do to sort out fact from fiction.

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  3. Would just like to invite all Ontarions out to the Invenergy PUBLIC COMMUNITY MEETING….. you know the one that has hired Stantec Consulting Ltd. …. well this PUBLIC COMMUNITY MEETING brought to us by Invenergy and Stantec is “Designed with Community in Mind” says so right at the bottom of the Notice of Meeting letter they sent to my friend that sold the piece of land to the farmer next door 6 years ago!!! So this meeting is at 1 Erie St. In Dutton Dunwich on Friday March 24 from 6pm till 9pm 2017…. Very interested in this meeting… really hope the leaseholders are gonna be there after all… it is a COMMUNITY PROJECT right!!! Hope they’re there to answer the publics questions… we will not be able to find out if the wind company has thier 75% of neighbours signatures because apparently an “anonymous” 3rd party has blocked our request for the names through the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT” that’s right folks blocked from obtaining information on our own COMMUNITY PROJECT…
    We will be setting up a protest site right at the community center for OUR COMMUNITY PROJECT MEETING ….. the one that’s DESIGNED WITH COMMUNITY IN MIND!!!!
    I would love to meet anyone here on Parker Gallants Energy Perspectives site that night…. I’ll be hanging around the coffee, hot chocolate and goodies tray…. Lol…
    We have contacted all the usually media outlets and papers…. well be having a donation bin there…. we ask you bring 1 (one) used rubber tire for us to later throw on the fires that are going to be burning our here very soon…. lol just kidding!!! No I’m not!!!!! bring me the tires!!!! I know I said I wouldn’t post any more cause I think that Tracy…Barbara.. Sommer…. Richard Mann…. Whooper….. are the only ones that read this ….. hope I’m wrong…. see you in Dutton on March 24 2017 from 6 pm to 9pm… love to meet you folks… we could compare notes on how to stop this madness…
    Thanks again everyone!!!

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  4. Sounds like Fraud! When do they go to jail? I cannot believe that Wynn intends to run again. I wish she would run out of Canada.

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