Boldface type on hydro bills doesn’t make statements true

 

The baby’s not smiling… he can see the future

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.*

What’s missing: 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hydro One: the news is bad, bad and even worse

Hydro One’s litany of bad news

Shortly after Hydro One’s CEO Mayo Schmidt announced in July that Hydro One would acquire Avista Corporation of Spokane, Washington, it’s been a litany of bad news for him and the shareholders.

Bad News # 1.

The worst bad news was a recent one by the OEB in respect to the allocation of a large part of Hydro One’s rate increase request, associated with deferred income tax relative to their transmission business.   The note in their recently released 3rd Quarter report states: “On November 9, 2017, the OEB issued a Decision and Order that modified the portion of the tax savings that should be shared with ratepayers. This proposed methodology would result in an impairment of Hydro One Networks’ transmission deferred income tax regulatory asset of up to approximately $515 million. If the OEB were to apply the same methodology for sharing in Hydro One Networks’ 2018-2022 distribution rates, for which a decision is currently outstanding, it would result in an impairment of Hydro One Networks’ distribution deferred income tax regulatory asset of up to approximately $370 million.”

Hydro One was not pleased and as a result are appealing the ruling by the OEB to the Ontario Court of Appeals. They hope the decision will result in a 100% benefit for the shareholders and nothing for the ratepayers instead of the 29% allocated by the OEB.

Bad News # 2. and # 3.

Another bit of recent bad news was related to the ruling of the Alaskan regulators who  rejected the acquisition of Alaska Electric Light and Power Company (an Avista subsidiary) by Hydro One.  Interestingly enough, the rejection came even though Hydro One have guaranteed the regulators (via the Avista Corporation’s application to allow the takeover) a 10-year rate reduction which is estimated to reduce Avista’s revenue by US$31 million.

Bad News # 4.

Almost six months ago, Hydro One submitted a rate application to the OEB that, if fully granted, would increase average residential distribution rates by $141 annually. This was right in the midst of all the chatter about the Fair Hydro Plan the Ontario government was promoting.  When confronted with questions related to that application, the Premier declared to the Elliot Lake Standard: “It’s the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) that sets the rates. The Ontario Energy Board sometimes accepts increases and sometimes they don’t.”  Most ratepayers know that setting rate increases has become the purview of the Minister of Energy and the Premier who decreed rates would be reduced by 25% via the Fair Hydro Act so the claim was disingenuous.  Nevertheless, perhaps the OEB took a signal from the Premier’s message?  What they did was schedule a series of open-house meetings at nine locations in the province.  One should suspect those attending the meetings were not there to support the rate increases!  The OEB is still weighing the Hydro One submission and what they heard at the community events.

Bad News # 5.

Yet another piece of recent bad news came from Spokane, Washington when Avista announced their 3rd Quarter earnings were down 63% from US$12.2million to US$4.5million of the comparable 2016 Quarter. (Could someone please tell me why Hydro One is buying Avista Corp. and paying [US $5.3 million] 45 times current earnings, suggesting there are synergies that will result in savings and benefits to both sets of ratepayers separated by 3,687 km of driving miles?)

Bad News # 6.

Back in August 2016 the City of Orillia agreed to sell Orillia Power Distribution for $26.3 million (30 times 2015 earnings) and Hydro One dutifully submitted the agreement to the OEB for approval. Shortly after Hydro One announced their planned purchase of Avista, the OEB stated “In an order dated July 27, the board said it had determined “that the hearing of this application will be adjourned until the OEB renders its decision on Hydro One’s distribution rate application.”  Energy board staff found that rates proposed for previously acquired utilities in Hydro One’s distribution rate application

“suggest large distribution rate increases for some customers” in future.”  Hydro One resubmitted the application and the OEB’s response was: “On October 24, 2017, the OEB issued a Procedural Order in response to Hydro One’s Motion to Review and Vary, with key dates for filing additional materials on the Motion, hearing date, and filing of reply submissions.”

 Bad News # 7

On November 10, 2017 Hydro One released their 3rd Quarter results: they were disappointing, with distributed power dropping by 395 GWh (gigawatt hours) or 6% compared to the same quarter in 2016. That reflected itself in a revenue drop of 3.7% or $14 million (net of cost of power) despite additional revenue coming from OEB approved rate increases.  The overall drop in consumption in the province also reflected itself in a significant drop in average peak demand (down 9.3%) which would have resulted in a revenue drop if not for the OEB’s approval of transmission rate increases, pushing revenue up by $27 million.

The end result was a $15 million (-6.3%) drop in net income despite the year over year rate increases for both the distribution and transmission businesses. Interestingly Hydro One blamed “milder weather” as the cause of the consumption and peak demand drops whereas Environment Canada reported “From June 20 to July 31, Toronto hit 30 degrees just seven times, compared with 24 days in 2016” but perhaps “milder weather” insofar as Hydro One is concerned references cooler weather or simply reduced consumption due to the cost burden on ratepayers?

 Perhaps the stream of bad news that Hydro One is currently suffering from will allow the company’s executives time to reflect on the decade of bad news Ontario’s ratepayers have experienced as a result of their inability to keep our rates from climbing at a multiple of the cost of living.

Parker Gallant,

November 14, 2017

 

Aftermath of new rules on political advertising

Almost a year ago, the Ontario government presented and passed legislation related to campaign finance reform.   The Globe and Mail noted in an article on December 1, 2016: “The Election Finances Act – prompted by a Globe and Mail investigation into pay-to-play fundraising – passed its final vote in the legislature Thursday morning with all three parties in support.”

As most people know, the reform associated with political campaign financing was demanded when it was widely publicized the Premier “and members of her cabinet were offering intimate face-time to corporate leaders and lobbyists seeking government contracts and favourable policy decisions in exchange for donations of up to $10,000 to the Ontario Liberal Party.”   Funds raised by political parties are used to promote their promises to voters and to outline their plans if elected.  The party most affected by this reform was Ontario’s Liberal Party, meaning, less funds to promote themselves.

The foregoing event occurred only months after the OLP had gutted the ability of Ontario’s Auditor General to say “yes” or “no” to public money being used for campaign-style ads under the Government Advertising Act, an act brought to the Legislature by former Premier Dalton McGuinty. Since amendment of that act, Ontario’s voters have seen many ads that the Auditor General indicated she would have quashed.

Recently, we have seen such messages in our hydro bills. Back in January 2017, the bill we received told us how the Ontario government is reducing electricity costs by rebating the provincial portion of the HST; shortly after, the government announced the Fair Hydro Plan and our bills said “Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan saved you $XX.XX on your bill”.   (I don’t recall a message when they put the 8% Provincial Portion of the HST on our bills)!

Now, the recent messages will apparently be expanded as the Ministry of Energy has decreed via an upcoming regulatory amendment to “O. Reg. 275/04 (Information on Invoices to Certain Classes of Consumers of Electricity) made under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 (OEBA)”.  These latest changes will be “dynamic” according to the posting on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry as per the following:

“Dynamic Messaging
ENERGY is proposing to amend O. Reg 196/17 by amending the current information to be included on invoices and including a requirement that LDCs provide a customer-specific dynamic calculation of savings associated with the Fair Hydro Plan for each billing period invoiced.”

Perhaps the governing party no longer needs those $10,000 “face-time” donations as long as they can reach voters in other ways to get their messages out.

Whether we believe those messages as we head to an election is up to each of us.

©Parker Gallant,

November 8, 2017

OFA: lending support to Ontario’s new energy plan

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has published support for the new Long Term Energy Plan — but did they even read the numbers? Government spending seems to run counter to OFA goals

 

OFA in conflict?

About a year ago, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault told a community meeting in Sault Ste. Marie, “Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $35 billion in over 16,000 megawatts (MW) of new and refurbished clean generation, including nuclear, natural gas and renewables – this represents about 40 per cent of our current supply and is the main reason why hydro bills will continue to rise in the future.”

That was followed on March 2, 2017 by Premier Wynne who put out a statement on Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan and how much had been spent:  “In the past few years we’ve invested more than $50 billion in electricity infrastructure”.

Now, to the release of Minister Thibeault’s 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan  (LTEP) “Delivering Fairness and Choice” which says this: “Nearly $70 billion has been invested in the electricity system since 2003. These investments have several benefits, including providing a clean, reliable electricity system.”

In just one year, Ontario’s Premier and Minister of Energy changed the claims made about spending on the electricity sector to the point where they suggest we have spent an additional $35 billion dollars in just one year!

In response to the LTEP, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture or OFA put out a very short paper that simply seems to buy into the government claims: $70 billion was invested in our electricity system over the past 15 years, much of these investments were for the shift to non-emitting generation sources.”

You might think Ontario’s farmers, who are very dependent on energy, would be far from happy with electricity prices. In fact, on their Issues page on their website, they say “OFA believes Ontario farms need competitively priced energy, including access to natural gas and reasonably priced electricity, to be able to compete and to contribute to the growth of our rural economy.”

They are no doubt concerned about the Fair Hydro Act and what will happen when the bill for its $40-billion cost falls due and electricity rates shoot up again. But you wouldn’t know that from reading their LTEP review: it suggests refinancing the Global Adjustment to defer costs was a good thing!

Perhaps Don McCabe, former President of the OFA, still plays a role in determining the OFA’s position on the electricity sector?   As people may recall, McCabe was one of several “environmentalists” who were members of the GEAA (Green Energy Act Alliance) who claim responsibility for bringing us the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. Back in 2011 the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) awarded Don McCabe a trophy for that role! (The OFA continues to maintain membership in OSEA but the current representative is Ian Nokes.)

As an OFA executive, Mr. McCabe should step up and help the Premier and Minister to present a dollar amount to the public that is consistent, and doesn’t suggest spending jumped $35 billion in one year.

On the other hand, he and the other members of the GEAA could be blamed for increasing electricity bills plus the removal of the rights of rural communities to say yes or no to industrial wind turbines, and for the negative impacts on neighbours of any farmers who signed leases with wind power developers

Perhaps Mr. McCabe is content to keep a low profile as the spending claims keep growing!

Wind: worst value for Ontario consumers

The wind power lobby continues to claim power from wind is great value and contributes to “affordable” electricity bills. But the facts of October tell a different story.

Ontario turbines near Comber: not helping

Right after Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault released his version of the LTEP (Long-Term Energy Plan), “Delivering Fairness and Choice,” CanWEA (the Canadian Wind Energy Association) issued a news release with the following statement:  “New wind energy provides the best value for consumers to meet growing demand for affordable non-emitting electricity.”

To back up that claim, CanWEA president Robert Hornung had this to say: Ontario’s harnessing of wind power can help fight climate change while keeping electricity costs low. Without new wind energy, costs to electricity customers and carbon emissions will both continue to rise.”

Brandy Giannetta, CanWEA’s Regional Director for Ontario also had a quote: “CanWEA supports competitive, market-based approaches to providing flexible, clean, and low-cost energy supply, to meet Ontarians’ changing needs.”

The expression “I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that,” immediately comes to mind but here’s the truth: industrial-scale wind turbines have failed miserably in producing anything resembling “low-cost” energy and is instead one of the reasons consumers’ electricity bills “will continue to rise”!

If Hornung and Giannetta had waited just five days, they could have visited my friend Scott Luft’s spreadsheet and noticed how wind performed in October.   They would have discovered it was pretty dismal: 37.9% of possible grid-connected (Tx) wind power generation was curtailed (paid for but not used).  

The IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) was concerned that too much wind power generation could cause repercussions such as a blackout or brownout, so 481,243 MWh (megawatt hours) were not accepted throughout the month. However, Ontario’s ratepayers will still pay for those undelivered MWh at a cost of $120 each, meaning the GA (global adjustment) increased by $57.7 million (481,243 MWh X $120. = $ $57,749,160).

Add that $57.7 million to the 787,627 MWh of the Tx  generation accepted into the grid, the total costs rise to $165 million or $208.32/MWh — the equivalent of 20.8 cents/kWh (kilowatt hour).   (That calculation is 787,627 X $135/MWh = $106,329,645 + $57,749,160 = $164,978,805.  Simply divide the latter amount by the Tx accepted generation and you get the $208.32 MWh or the 20.8 cents/kWh.)

It is important to note that the costs calculated and reported here do not include the transmission charge, delivery charge, regulatory charge or the HST.  Additionally, another 158,609 MWh of wind were delivered to local distribution companies (Dx) at a cost of $135/MWh, bringing IWT costs for the month to $185 million — for power we didn’t need.  No doubt during the month we were also steaming off clean nuclear power from Bruce Nuclear and spilling clean hydro power from OPG’s hydro generation units. In both cases the cost of the steamed off nuclear and the spilled hydro will be added to the Global Adjustment pot and find its way to our future bills.

I hope Mr. Hornung and Ms Giannetta will rethink their claims and simply admit wind power generation is high-cost, and frequently displaces low-cost non-emitting nuclear and hydro power.

You can’t hide October’s facts!

 

Ontario’s fond hopes for wind power dashed by reality

Ontario’s energy minister will likely crow about the $146 million in revenue from selling surplus power recently … too bad it cost consumers $892 million

 If you visit the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) website, the first page has the message:  “Wind is delivering clean, reliable and low-cost electricity”.  Anyone following my recent postings on how wind has either delivered almost no power or way too much, may have a different view.  You can also find this homily in the Energy Ministry’s just released 2017 Long-Term Electricity Plan, Delivering Fairness and Choice: “Wind power is also being produced more efficiently,” which distorts the truth!

Recent facts:

One day of wind power

Tuesday October 24, 2017 was a day when the wind was blowing strongly for 24 hours. IESO had forecast the approximately 4,220 MW of Tx (transmission-connected) capacity could have delivered 88,200 MWh of generation, meaning they would operate at over 86% of capacity.  Using that capacity value for the 580 MW of Dx (distributor-connected) turbines, another 12,080 MW were no doubt being generated at the same time — that meant almost 30% of Ontario’s total demand could have been supplied by wind.

As it stands, however, Ontario’s demand suggested we didn’t need all that power so IESO directed Tx connected turbine generators to curtail over 52,000 MWh. So, that same day, Ontario exported 40,300 MWh of free power to New York and Michigan, 11,700 MWh less than IESO curtailed.

The delivered and curtailed (paid for but not delivered) wind power on October 24th that wasn’t needed cost Ontario ratepayers $13.5 million or $280.60/MWh (28.1 cents/kWh).  If that happened every day the annual cost to Ontario’s ratepayers would be in excess of $5 billion.

Nine months of wind power

Let’s look at the nine months starting January 1, 2017 to the end of September and see what wind has contributed — and cost — Ontario ratepayers.  In the first nine months of 2017, industrial wind turbines could have produced about 9,820,000 megawatt hours (MWh) from Tx and Dx connected capacity — if curtailed generation was included! IESO however, forced curtailment of over 2,209,000* megawatt hours (MWh) or 22.5% of forecast generation to avoid compromising our grid and causing blackouts or brownouts.  Ontario ratepayers picked up the cost of curtailed power at $120 per/MWh costing them more than $265 million. The grid-accepted wind (7,620,395 MWh) cost; at $135/MWh added to the cost of curtailed wind brought the cost to ratepayers to almost $1.3 billion and more than $170/MWh (17cents/kWh). We would note when wind generation is high, IESO frequently instructs OPG to “spill water” and Bruce Nuclear to “steam off” power. Ratepayers also pick up those costs.

Nine months of (net) exports

From January 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017, Ontario’s net exports (exports minus imports) were 9,058,008 MWh. Those net exports were sold at somewhere close to the HOEP or hourly Ontario electricity price which to the end of September averaged $16.15MWh, so net exports sales generated about $146 million in revenue.  The sale price does not include the GA or Global Adjustment (the difference between contracted or regulated rates and the HOEP), meaning Ontario’s ratepayers picked up the average GA costs to the end of September.  The GA averaged $98.48/MWh for the first nine months of the current year, so the 9,058,008 MWh of net exports cost Ontario’s ratepayers just over $892 million dollars!   That is the equivalent of almost $200 per average residential ratepayer.

And the year isn’t over.

To put those net exports in context, Ontario’s net exports represented slightly over 92% of both the curtailed and delivered wind generation in the first nine months of the year, yet we were burdened with the cost of $892 million dollars for them, along with the costs of wind curtailment of $265 million.

The foregoing makes CanWEA’s claim of “low-cost electricity” and the Energy Ministry’s comments about wind power “being produced more efficiently” look to be simply fond hopes!

 

 

* My thanks to Scott Luft for his ability to generate reliable wind data using IESO’s files.

Open Letter to the Energy Minister: where is the “fairness”?

Open letter to: The Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Ontario Minister of Energy

October 30, 2017,

Minister Thibeault:

RE: Delivering Fairness and Choice

I have been sifting through your Long-Term Energy Plan 2017 (LTEP-2017) and found lots of really interesting claims in the 156 pages. Many of the claims don’t appear to be well researched or of real value to Ontario’s electricity system and will impact ratepayer bills to a factor well in excess of the forecast rate increases made in the Plan.  Here are a few I find that bear little resemblance to facts or reasonableness and accordingly I seek answers from your ministry.

About electric vehicles (EVs)

As a starter I note this remark in the LTEP: “If too many EVs in a neighbourhood charge at the same time, important parts of the distribution system could be strained. As EVs become more popular, pressures on our distribution networks will grow and utilities will need the tools to manage this change in a cost-effective way.”

  1. 1. My question is: are “the tools to manage this change” incorporated in your projections and who will pay the costs associated with acquiring “the tools”?

In another spot I note the LTEP states: “The outlook assumes the equivalent of approximately 2.4 million electric vehicles by 2035.” If you went back and looked at the 2010 LTEP you would see the then Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, forecast: “This scenario is consistent with the current government goal for electric vehicles: five per cent by 2020.” At that time 5% would have been about 420,000 vehicles but a report on the registered EVs on the road at the end of the 2017 first Quarter show only 5398 EVs are registered in Ontario so clearly that “goal” will be missed by the proverbial country mile. You are suggesting by 2035 registered EVs will be 2.4 million or 28% of all vehicles on the road. Seems like a stretch goal as Duguid’s forecast was! If you are confident in your projections I have a question:

  1. 2. Why continue the big fat grants of up to $14,000 per vehicle plus another $1,000 to install a charging station (which will cause problems in the distribution system) if the forecast is for sales to ramp up to the predicted level?

 

Q.3. Who will pay for road upkeep if no gas tax is being collected from the 2.4 million EVs using our roads?

About projected power costs

I would point out that one of the notes on the chart depicting projected bill increases on page 28 has in very small print the following note: “OEB defined the typical residential customer as a household that consumed 800 kWh of electricity per month. As of May 2016, the OEB changed their typical residential consumption to 750 kWh per month, due to declining household consumption”

Q.4. Why compare the average cost increases of 750 kWh now and in the future to the 800 kWh used in the two prior LTEPs unless the objective was make the percentage and dollar increases look better?

Those 50 kWh would equate to 2.5 days of monthly usage (one month per year) at the lower level used in the current LTEP which equates to a $121.00 annual increase!

About community benefits from Industrial Wind Turbines

Under the heading: “Communities Benefiting from Renewable Energy” the LTEP states: “The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is widely recognized as one of Ontario’s leading green energy communities, which has helped spur local economic development. The municipality has received significant benefits for hosting a number of wind energy projects. Recent and proposed wind projects will deliver an estimated $27 million in community benefits and property tax revenue over a 20-year period for the municipality.”

I presume one of the Ministry’s staff would have briefed you that when Dwight Duncan was the Minister of Finance, he decreed that MPAC (Municipality Property Assessment Corp.) would assess the value of Industrial Wind Turbines at $40,000 per MW (megawatt) even though the capital cost of one would be in the US$1.5/2 million range. What that means is most municipalities get little property tax revenue from any of those 500-foot monsters. In other words, it was hardly worth mentioning in the LTEP! Now one of the other issues related to Chatham-Kent was fairly recent news (a couple of months ago) about “water well contamination” caused by one of those contracts (Pattern Energy and Samsung) awarded and the Mayor, Randy Hope, even asked for help so I was curious why this example would have been included in the LTEP.   That leads me to my next question.

Q.5. Why was no mention made in your LTEP of contaminated well waters in this area, complaints about human health effects, property devaluation, effects on tourism or bird and bat kills?

About comparing average electricity prices

I note you had a section on large industrial electricity consumers with the following statement taken from the LTEP: “Currently, the electricity price for industrial electricity consumers in Ontario is lower than the average price in the Great Lakes region as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration”

In examining the LTEP claim related to the foregoing statement I note what has been done by your Ministry was to simply remove 30% of the Ontario industrial rates due to the difference between the US and Canadian dollar at the present time. You do realize that 4 years ago in 2012 our dollar was at par with the US dollar. Another fact omitted is the U.S. EIA data for August 2017 for the Great Lakes states of New York, Michigan and Ohio all show electricity costs declined from August 2016. Two of those states benefit the most from our, almost free, surplus exports.   In that regard it leads me to a couple of questions:

Q.6. Did the advent of the Class A rates in 2012 signal that Ontario’s industrial rates had far outstripped our neighbours and the Ministry was being aggressively lobbied to reduce them by AMPCO?

Q.7. Are you comfortable with the fact that our surplus net exports of electricity in 2016 of 13.864 terawatts (TWh) were sold at a price of $16.6 million/TWh generating $230 million of revenue while Ontario’s ratepayers were picking up the Global Adjustment costs of $96.6 million/TWh meaning Ontario’s ratepayers subsidized those surplus exports with $1.109 billion or the cost of moving two gas plants?

  1. 8. There was nothing in the 156 pages that spoke to residential or small business rate comparisons and was that because Ontario’s rates are the highest in Canada and most of the US?

About wind and solar renewables

The following remarks in “Delivering Fairness and Choice” about wind and solar caught my attention: “Due to the substantial decline in the cost of wind and solar technologies over the last decade, renewables are increasingly competitive with conventional energy sources and will continue to play a key role in helping Ontario meet its climate change goals.” That claim is surprising due to the fact that we pay wind development companies for delivering power when we don’t need it putting us in surplus which frequently requires us to sell it to New York or Michigan, etc. at a huge cost, so how can you claim you are striving “to make energy more affordable” unless you are doing it for our neighbours. Perhaps wind and solar are “increasingly competitive” because our electricity rates have increased at multiples of the inflation rate!

Before penning this letter, I had a look at the first nine (9) months of the current year and guess what—we paid wind developers $265 million to curtail generation because we didn’t need it. The 2.209 TWh they curtailed was over 22% of what they could have produced (if we needed it) and could have supplied about 250,000 average households with power for the full year. Because of the braggadocio evident in the “Plan” when speaking about wind and solar I naturally have two questions for you.

Q.9. Why did you say wind and solar “are increasingly competitive yet we continue to subsidize them?

Q.10. Why not cancel the projects that have not commenced construction as it is clear we don’t need wind’s intermittent and unreliable power that creates surplus supply and often are paid to not generate power?

About those GHG emissions

Another claim in the LTEP after brief comments about investments in “clean generation sources” the following statement appears: “Thanks to these investments, Ontario’s electricity sector is forecast to account for only about two per cent of Ontario’s total GHG emissions in 2017 and the emissions are forecast to be more than 80 per cent below 1990 levels.” 

Q.11: So, are you suggesting Ontario’s ratepayers have been paying a carbon tax via the price of electricity and renewable subsidies since 1990, but all of the governments since then have not been transparent?

About creating jobs

The LTEP suggests that it will be responsible for creating 163,400 jobs due to nuclear refurbishments, renewable energy jobs in wind and solar etc. Seems like a stretch goal particularly when we heard the same theme in the very first LTEP released by Brad Duguid when he sat in your chair! One example you included was: “According to a report from an expert third-party, the renewables sector is forecast to contribute nearly $5.4 billion to Ontario’s gross domestic product and create 56,500 jobs between 2017 and 2021. Many of the companies that participated in Ontario’s expansion of renewable energy are now poised to export their expertise and products to foreign markets. This could contribute as much as $1 billion to Ontario’s GDP and could add as many as 10,700 jobs between 2017 and 2021.”

The example you cite in the “Plan” employs 90 people or about one quarter of the Siemens plant in Tillisonburg that is closing.   Naturally the claim made incites me to ask another question:

  1. Could you please provide me a copy of the report you reference from the “expert third-party”?

Thanks in advance for your response.

Yours truly,

Parker Gallant

Prince Edward County, Ontario