If you just received your monthly electricity bill from Hydro One (presumably all local distribution companies will have the same message), you will be drawn to the boldface type declaring: “Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan saved you $XX.XX on your bill. This amount includes the 8% Provincial Rebate.”
The next paragraph elaborates on that message by telling you “Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan substantially lowers electricity bills for typical residential consumers. This includes the eight percent rebate introduced in January 2017 and builds on previous initiatives to deliver broad-based relief on all electricity bills.” (“Previous initiatives”? Huh?)
Also included with your bill is a leaflet (English on one side and French on the other) expanding on the wonders of the Fair Hydro Plan with a picture of a happy smiling family (mom and dad but not the one-year-old in mom’s lap) viewing a laptop computer. Right above the picture is a white on black square with the words “Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan Bringing electricity bills down”.
The baby is right not to smile: the information on the bill and insert contain only selective facts.*
Missing on the bill and the brochure was an explanation on why our cost of electricity climbed well over 100% due to the Green Energy and Green Economy Act which handed out long-term, above market contracts for intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation.
Missing was information about the cost of moving two gas plants to save Liberal seats in Oakville and Mississauga.
Missing was any information about why we pay gas plant generators hundreds of millions of dollars to sit idle to back up intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation.
Missing was any mention about the Global Adjustment Mechanism (GA) forcing Ontario to export surplus generation to NY and Michigan for pennies on the dollar causing ratepayers to pick up hundreds of millions of missing dollars to cover the cost of surplus generation.
Missing was any mention of the hundreds of millions of dollars the curtailment of wind generation, steaming-off of nuclear or spilling of hydro costs ratepayers.
Missing is any mention of the costs of hundreds of millions of dollars to annually pay for discounts for LED lights, an energy-efficient furnace or a new energy-efficient refrigerator, etc., etc.
Missing was any mention of the hundreds of thousands of families placed in “energy poverty” who have had to choose to either buy food or pay their hydro bills.
Missing is any claim to the harm caused to humans and nature by the thousands of unreliable, intermittent wind turbines erected or any mention about how their installation is now affecting water aquifers in certain parts of the province.
Fairness is in the eye of the beholder and the current claim that the government is “Bringing electricity bills down” should be expanded to state what most Ontarians know: “Bringing electricity bills down” today, will cause them to rocket upwards in the near future due to our complete mismanagement of the energy portfolio.
(C) Parker Gallant
November 18, 2017
* Selective facts are “true” facts that only tell us part of the story.