OPG on their way to Record Profits for 2020

Having missed OPG’s press release on their 2nd Quarter financial results a few days ago, a post on Scott Luft’s twitter account stating: “OPG released Q2 results. Net income during the first half of 2020 is $775 million – which is greater than their full year net income in all but one year from 1999-2015” alerted me!

What the above suggests is OPG will finish the year with record profits despite most of Ontario’s industrial companies being negatively affected by the Covid-19 lock-down. It seems ironic one of the province’s wholly owned companies will achieve record results with the economy brutalized and electricity consumption falling.  For the first six months of 2019 Class A and B consumption was 68.7 TWh and for 2020 it fell to 65.5 TWh for a drop of 3.2 TWh or 4,7%.

OPG’s revenue in the first six months was up from $2,992 million in 2019 to $3,569 million or $577 million (+19.3%). In 2019 OPG generated 39.3 TWh versus 41.6 TWh in 2020. OPG provided 63.5% of all ratepayer consumption in 2020 versus 57.2% in 2019. It seems incongruous the increased generation of 2.3 TWh produced additional revenue of $548 million (net of fuel expenses).

On closer examination of the foregoing the commentary in the report states OPG spilled 1.9 TWh of hydro in 2019 whereas in 2020 it was 2.5 TWh due to SBG (surplus baseload generation) so that would have added some revenue.  The additional spilled hydro payments however would only account for about $30 million of the $548 million increase so why did gross revenue climb by so much?

As it turns out most of the huge jump in revenue came about because of a rate approval from the OEB in 2018 related to OPG’s nuclear plants. The OEB had, for some reason, been sitting on the rate application for a considerable period.  While OPG generated an additional 1.6 TWh from nuclear plants it accounted for about $150 million in additional revenue.  The rate increase for the balance of the nuclear generation added approximately $260 million and the rest of the increase in revenue came from gas generation facilities (some recently acquired by OPG) and the balance from their US hydroelectric owned facilities purchased in October 2019.

The average cost per MWh of nuclear power generated by OPG in the first six months of 2019 was 81.80/MWh and jumped to 94.20/MWh in 2020 for an increase of 15.1%.

The upsetting part about the results is OPG has, so far in 2020, produced a ROE (return on equity) of 9.2% during the pandemic lock-down on the $775 million of after tax* ($199 million) net profit! Most private sector businesses are losing money meaning their return on equity is negative and has/will result in many of them declaring bankruptcy or being forced to lay off employees.  Those they lay off will continue to have to pay their electricity bills which are among the highest in Canada and the US.

OPG’s favourable ROE does nothing to alleviate the expensive electricity bills which businesses (small and medium) and residential ratepayers must pay.  The Provincial government should use the $199 million of tax revenue from OPG to reduce ratepayer costs and instruct the OEB to consider lowering the allowed ROE to prevent further increases on our extremely high electricity bills.

The Provincial Government should also move to subvert those high cost wind and solar contracts handed out by the McGuinty/Wynne government that are a continuing burden on all ratepayers.

*While OPG allocates tax costs they are actually referenced as PIL (payments in lieu) of actual taxes and are simply recorded as revenue within the Provincial budget.

MaRS Discovery District lives on Government Grants and miss Fundraising Targets by Miles

The MaRS Discovery District (MDD) is a registered charity owned by the Ontario Provincial Government. MDD was one of the major issues (together with the expanding electricity mess) that resulted in turning the majority McGuinty led Ontario Liberal Party in the 2011 election into a minority!  MDD was conceived in “2001 to develop a world-class innovation and convergence centre (the MaRS Centre) in Toronto dedicated to improving Canada’s economic prosperity from innovation in the life sciences sector.”

MDD didn’t get rolling until the Liberals gained power in 2003 but from that point on MDD took off with incredible support from Provincial taxpayers. As evidence, Provincial support to the end of 2011 was in excess of $150 million and reviewing the 10 years from 2010 to 2019, MDD received $228 million in provincial funding as well as $9.4 million in Federal funds. Actual donations, for which MDD issued tax receipts, were a paltry $4.6 million or an average of $460K annually for those 10 years.

MDD had originally arranged financing for their Phase 2 expansion via IO (Infrastructure Ontario) another provincial entity established by the McGuinty led government but it was never clear* how the $235 million they arranged to borrow via IO would be able to pay the estimated cost of the building of $344 million.  As it turned out IO’s 2015 annual report noted: “The Loan receivable from the Medical and Related Sciences (MaRS) was transferred to the Ministry of Research and Innovation on March 31, 2015.”  The money supplied by the Provincial government at that time reached at least $400 million to cover the expansion.  As time went on and the building was completed Brad Duguid, then Ontario Economic Development Minister, was finally able to announce MaRS had  “completed a $290-million private financing of its west tower building project, which has enabled it to repay three-quarters of the nearly $400-million in loans received from Ontario to complete the stalled project.”  The Globe and Mail carried the story on February 9, 2017. Ironically one of the “premier” tenants in the Phase 2 building is none other than Public Health Ontario (PHO) an outgrowth of the 2003 SARS epidemic! PHO is now guiding the Ford led government on the Covid-19 pandemic!

Just months before the foregoing announcement the Globe ran an article stating: “The long-time CEO of Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, Ilse Treurnicht, has informed its board she will be stepping down as of June, 2017, ending a 12-year run at the head of the non-profit innovation hub funded primarily by the province.”  If one looks at the “Sunshine list” it is obvious Ms. Treurnicht was extremely well paid particularly when one realizes that she was the CEO of a “charity”! In most years she was paid over $500K.  Comparing her salary to the average annual tax receipted donations of $460K indicates they didn’t even receive enough to pay her salary.  From 2010 the number of employees at MaRS grew from 51 to 211 and compensation costs in 2019 were $23.5 million meaning the average salary for all employees was $111,000!

The foregoing is humorous as when MDD were finally able to arrange partial private financing for their Phase 2 expansion and repaid the Province $290 million of the $400 million of debt they had incurred, Ms. Treurnicht was quoted in a Globe article and presumably the reporter obtained all of the following information from her in addition to her quote.

When the building is fully occupied later this year, it will generate about $20-million in annualized net operating income, enough to make it self-sustaining, MaRS CEO Ilse Treurnicht said.

MaRS will now focus on fundraising, with a goal of bringing in more than $50-million from private donors for programming to help startups. MaRS board members have personally pledged close to $7-million of that amount.

“It’s really exciting because we now have what we always needed – long-term stable financial base for the infrastructure of Mars,” Ms. Treurnicht said.”

MDD have recently released their March 31, 2020 Annual Report but haven’t filed it with the CRA.  Nevertheless, there are parts of the report that make for interesting reading including the fact they once again they finished their year without showing a profit.

What is also interesting is reading the auditor’s notes which indicate their realty and other holdings.  Note 1 tells us about “MaRS Phase 1 Investment Trust, MaRS Phase 1 Inc. and 2550106 Ontario Inc.” as well as “Phase 2 Investment Trust and MaRS Phase 2 Inc.”. They note those realty holdings are “Ontario for-profit” companies.  Other “for profits” owned by MDD include: MaRS Discovery Enterprises Inc., MaRS Catalyst Fund and MaRS 101 Investments. The “not for profits” under the MaRS wing are; MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund Inc. and MaRS Discovery Services Inc. The latter owns 100% of MaRS 101 Ventures and 100% of MaRS Catalyst General Partner Inc. There are companies, etc. MDD claim an interest in but for the sake of brevity let’s stop there.

After reviewing the “not-for-profits” and the “for-profits” owned by a “charity” owned by the taxpayers of the Province of Ontario one wonders; did the Kielburgers’ get their WE to ME organization abilities from the former Ontario Liberals who for 15 years were running the Province?  Just saying!

In reviewing the 2018 and 2019 CRA filing’s for MDD the $50 million goal of donations, cited by their former CEO, Ms. Treurnicht as noted above, appears to be “pie in the sky” as receipted donations in 2018 were $704K and in 2019 were $538K.  That’s a big miss by any planning standards and brings to light an article Peter Foster had in the Financial Post in June 2014 about MDD where he wrote!

MaRS DD was based on the zombie delusion that governments can pick winners or, in this case, carefully select those whom they will guide across the so-called “valley of death” – a place littered with the bleached bones of brilliant innovators who couldn’t sell their dreams to blinkered, flinty-eyed financiers.”

Six years later and MaRS Discovery District is still convinced they can pick the winners out of the clouds of their organization and guide them over the “valley of death”!

The time has come for Ontario’s Auditor General to examine this labyrinth and give Ontario taxpayers the facts about their charity; MaRS Discovery District!  From the outside MaRS looks more like a realty company than a Charity!

*Refer an article by the author in the Financial Post on June 10, 2014.

No More “Carrot and Stick” requirements for Class A Ontario Ratepayers

Recently, Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP) was interviewed on NewsTalk 960 AM by Marc Patrone. While the interview dealt principally with the Covid-19 pandemic at long term care homes, near the end, Marc asked a few questions related to the “electricity” sector which resulted in Del Duca’s berating the Ford government for cancelling some renewable energy contracts at a reputed cost of $200 million.  When Marc then asked about the “gas plant moves” Del Duca’s response was to start dancing and he seemed unable to justify the money wasted when the Liberals held power saying; “it’s complicated, it’s complex”!

The ratepayers and taxpayers of Ontario are certainly aware of the complications and complexities of the electricity bills they receive and most blame the OLP for that.  They were the ruling party who created the GEA in 2009 granting expensive 20-year contracts to wind and solar companies (mainly foreign) that drove up electricity prices. Those contracts negatively affected the ability of large, medium and small companies in the province, resulting in veiled threats from large multinational companies saying they would be forced to leave the province due to the cost of electricity.  Those large corporations via the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario (AMPCO) commenced lobbying the McGuinty led government as soon as they saw electricity prices start their climb.

AMPCO were successful as Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy on March 4, 2010 instructed the Ontario Power Authority “to undertake the responsibility for creating and delivering an industrial energy efficiency program (the “Program”) with the objective of achieving cost-effective conservation through industrial process improvements that bring energy efficiency gains.”  Needless to say, the OPA did as told and created the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) allowing large industrial users to reduce their demand by picking five (5) peak hours over the year in order to be granted a reduction in the Global Adjustment by reducing demand during those five hours.  The ICI took effect in September 2011 for the benefit of the AMPCO members who were then classified as Class A ratepayers with the rest us now referenced as Class B.  Minister Duguid’s letter to the OPA indicated up to $660 million could be handed out as “incentive funding to Participating Consumers. Incentives shall be sufficient to generate attractive rates of investment return for Participating Consumers in projects that meet the objective of achieving cost effective conservation.”  Many used those funds to invest in load displacement generation (eg: gas generators) so they could continue to operate during peak hours.

As recently noted by my friend Scott Luft, since the ICI inception in late 2011 through to the end of 2019 the cost to Class B ratepayers was approximately $1.4 billion (average of about $170 million per annum) paid to reduce the GA for those large industrial ratepayers as his recent chart shows.

Running the Class B to Class A transfer for 2019 shows the GA for Class B ratepayers was $108/MWh whereas for Class A ratepayers it was $49.63/MWh making the overall cost to Class B ratepayers just over $200 million for the 40 TWh (terawatt hours) Class A ratepayers consumed. It is worth noting the lower the HOEP (hourly Ontario electricity price) market price is during a month, the higher the B to A subsidy becomes.

The reduced consumption we are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic lock-down has exacerbated the province’s surplus generation causing us to not only export more but also to curtail more wind, spill more hydro and steam-off more nuclear.  One would expect the added surplus would reduce the HOEP as it does when consumption falls and therefore benefits Class A ratepayers.

Undisclosed Class A Stable Electricity Pricing

Recognizing the foregoing Class B to Class A subsidy it came as a complete shock to note a press release was issued at 3.30 PM, Friday June 26,2020 by the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, Greg Rickford, announcing the province would provide “Stable Electricity Pricing for Industrial and Commercial Companies”!   The reason for this unexpected late Friday announcement appears to be a concern that peak hours occur during the summer and the Ministry suggests “these large employers can focus on getting their operations back up and running at full tilt.” Instead of “adjusting operations in response to peak electricity demand hours.

What is disturbing about the press release is that it doesn’t disclose what the rate freeze has been set at nor does it disclose the estimated cost and who will bear it!

Will the cost of the freeze be layered onto all of the residential and small/medium sized ratepayers or will it be the taxpayers picking up the costs? Did AMPCO successfully lobby for this rate freeze and abolition of the requirement to increase their members conservation efforts?

While most Ontarians recognize the electricity portfolio is indeed both “complicated” and “complex” this action by the Ministry only adds to it!

Time for the Ford led government to fix the mess in this Ministry and not give the Liberals further ammunition to suggest; “it’s complicated, it’s complex”!

How best to shut down the Canadian Economy? It’s Complicated!

On June 7, 2020 the Globe and Mail published an article by Adam Radwanski criticizing an earlier piece by Christopher Ragan and Andrew Potter of McGill University. The McGill team advocated the “green recovery” plan as an “excellent opportunity to substantially increase the federal carbon tax”–“rather than trying to pick climate-change winners through government spending”. Ragan, founder of the Ecofiscal Commission, and a strong advocate for the carbon tax, has suggested it would have to increase to $210/tonne to be effective in the reduction of emissions to contain global warming.

Radwanski’s article shows he isn’t a huge fan of the carbon tax. In his words: “it’s hard to imagine any government deciding to immediately “double or triple” a carbon price in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” Anyone with a small amount of common sense would support his view! Raising taxes as we try to emerge from a chronic financial crisis and record unemployment rates does seem a bad plan. As Radwanski notes, the government would need to impose “huge costs on businesses”. This would likely result in many businesses either failing or moving to friendly jurisdictions like the US that have pulled out of the Paris Accord and where only a few states impose carbon taxes.

Radwanski’s article then undertakes a review of other options for intervention – and subsidization. These are just the sorts of things the Eco-Fiscal Commission argued against. He speaks favourably about government subsidizing building retrofits and electric vehicle purchases which he says are: “two of the most obvious potential stimulus measures”. He goes on to say the public won’t buy EVs “if there isn’t enough charging infrastructure” implying the need for government support there too. He notes that transit systems can’t afford to buy electric buses due to ridership drops and opines how the Feds could help finance their purchases. He also expresses concern and the need “to accelerate the end of coalfired power” and avoid “a looming ramp-up of gas-fired energy generation in Ontario.” Interestingly, he avoids mentioning the fact that the very same “gas-fired energy generation” in Ontario is required to back up the McGuinty/Wynne contracted intermittent and unreliable wind and solar generation that drove up energy costs.

Radwanski’s conclusion? The shift – by which he seems to mean to a green future – is going to require more than one policy tool. One assumes he means some combination of carbon taxes and various interventions that pick favourites with government subsidies.

And that’s where Mr Gerald Butts and Mr Bruce Lourie enter the conversation.

The former, in his tweet of June 9th said: “Strong piece by @aradwanski just set the global standard for a clean recovery”! Hours later Bruce Lourie’s response was simply: “It’s complicated”!

Well there you go. Two leading architects of the last two decades of interventionist and expensive government action on energy in Ontario and Canada applaud a piece saying, in sum, that we need more, not less, taxation and intervention going forward.

The Green Energy Act – where both Butts and Lourie had a hand – resulted in Ontario having some of the highest electricity prices in North America. But there is no talk of that here. There is no talk of how all those programmes and policies they thought up have hurt affordability, and with it our competitiveness. No, all we get is the statement that Radwanski’s call for more initiatives is setting a “global standard” and the very helpful comment that “it’s complicated.” Lourie and Butts are greenwashing Canada’s taxpayers and seem hell-bent on further destroying the Canadian economy –their new “Resilient Recovery” initiative is a case in point.

What none of these people -= Ragan, Potter, Butts, Lourie or Radwanski ever talk about is the fact that the Canadian consumer is being hit again and again with more and more costs. When will this end? Only when someone steps forward and says stop – pull out of the Paris Accord, abandon ridiculous targets that hurt Canadians, and get on with allowing Canadians to get on with trying to recover from these messes. It isn’t that complicated!

NB:  Also published on Canadians for Affordable Energy.

April 2020 Showered Ontario Ratepayers with More Costs than 2019

The IESO has recently released data consumption and costs for April 2020.  Needless to say, it brings ratepayers a continuation of bad news propagated by the previous Liberal government and their affection with renewable energy.

In line with the Covid-19 lock-down IESO reported grid connected Class A and Class B consumption fell this April from 10.683 TWh (terawatt hours) in 2019 to 9.781 TWh; an 8.4% drop.  The drop for Class A ratepayers (large industrial companies) was significant falling from 3.301 TWh in 2019 to 2.764 TWh in 2020 for a 16.3% drop (.537 TWh) whereas Class B (small/medium sized companies and residential) consumption fell from 7.382 TWh in 2019 to 7.017 TWh (.365 TWh), down 4.9%.

Despite the cumulative 8.4% drop in Ontario demand of .902 TWh however, the cost of consumption per MWh (megawatt hour) for both Class A and Class B ratepayers increased with the principal cause being a drop in the HOEP (Hourly Ontario Electricity Price) or “market price” and an increase in the GA or Global Adjustment.  Those events coincided with an increase in surplus generation exported to our neighbours at the HOEP price average of $5.78/MWh. Our “net exports” increased 662,000 MWh from 1,427,000 MWh to 2,089,000 MWh and the additional exports cost Ontario ratepayers about $75 million.  In April 2019 we exported 13,4% of what we consumed and in April 2020 it jumped to 21.4%.

Anyone involved in planning, no matter the industry, would suggest; IESO has done a horrible job of it! IESO presumably could however, turn around and suggest it was because of political interference by the McGuinty/Wynne governments their planning was obscured .

To a certain extent, many would be inclined to agree with the forgoing, as one particular type of generation played a major role in creating the expensive mess in Ontario’s electricity sector. It was mandated by the governing Liberals during their 15 years in power!  The particular generation causing most of the fiscal pain (in addition to solar) is of course industrial wind turbines (IWT) which are both unreliable and intermittent.  In both April 2019 and April 2020 wind generation drove up our costs of power and regardless of whether it’s accepted or curtailed, we are still obliged to pay for it.

Scott Luft tracks IESO data for wind and reviewing his spreadsheet for April 2019 indicates wind collectively (grid accepted, transmission accepted and curtailed) was about 1.453 TWh or 97% of our gross exports and in April 2020 wind (collectively) was 1.447 TWh and approximately 67.6% of our gross exports.

What the foregoing clearly shows is those bird and bat killing IWT were not needed and have damaged Ontario’s ability to both attract and retain our manufacturing base due to our expensive electricity prices.

IWT have been a detriment, not a benefit, to the province, including any notion they played a role in helping to close the coal plants!

As soon as this pandemic subsides the Ford government needs to focus their efforts on sorting out the electricity file to weed out expensive and wasteful renewable energy.

OPG reports 1st Quarter Net Revenue Growth of 22.6% and No One Noticed

The 2020 1st Quarter results by OPG were reported May 12, 2020 and showed  their “gross margin” (revenue less fuel expense) increased $289 million or 22.6% over the comparable 2019 Quarter.  Net profit was up $96 million (+45%) to $309 million but the MSM didn’t notice as they were no doubt busy reporting on the pandemic and ignoring any other news!

Net Generation was up 1.6 TWh and 1.3 TWh of the addition came from the nuclear sector (up from 9.8 TWh to 11.1 TWh) and was the primary reason for the increased revenue.  The nuclear generation also included an increase per MWh delivered; jumping from 89.70/MWh to 94.96/MWh and added $58.3 million to revenue while fuel expenses increased by only $6 million.  Gross revenue from nuclear generation increased by $242 million.

Hydro generation was flat in comparison with the prior year at 8.2 TWh and a revenue gain of $11 million was due to a slight increase in an OEB approved rate application.  OPG also spilled 0.7 TWh in 2020 versus 0.3 TWh in 2019 adding about $20 million to revenue.  One should correctly assume the spilling of hydro in both years was caused by SBG (surplus baseload generation) as industrial wind turbines or solar panels delivered power when it wasn’t needed! In the past OPG wasn’t paid for spilling hydro but when wind and solar were found to reduce OPG’s revenue because of wind and solar’s “first to the grid” rights, OPG complained.  They got the McGuinty/Wynne led OLP and the OEB to agree and since 2011 Ontario ratepayers have paid for double and often triple the cost of power.  The tripling comes from gas plants whose primary purpose is to provide peaking power to back-up to wind and solar when there is no wind or sunshine.  Gas plants are paid to idle and OPG is paid to spill hydro!

Now if one does the simple math to determine the cost to ratepayers for a single kWh (kilowatt hour) in the 2020 first quarter delivered by OPG simply divide the “revenue” by the TWh delivered! For the first quarter of 2019 it is $1,426 million divided by 19.1 TWh indicating an average cost of $74.66/MWh or 7.5 cents/kWh.  For 2020 revenue was $1,720 million so dividing that by 20.7 TWh produces an average cost of $82.81/MWh or 8.3 cents/kWh.  That implies a year over year increase of $8.15/MWh which translates to a jump of 10.9 % for each and every kilowatt hour consumed. This additional cost comes in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic so has serious implications on affordability as many from the private sector struggle with simply trying to economically survive.  If it doesn’t hit the ratepayers it will surely hit the taxpayers as the Ford government has either decreed it will be deferred or taxpayers will pick up the costs.

If it is any consolation, OPG is 100% owned by the province (we are the shareholders) so the net profit of $309 million and the $87 million in taxes (actually they are “payments in lieu of taxes) contributes $396 million to the provincial treasury.  On top of that the hydro “fuel costs” used to generate the 8.2 TWh of hydro was $67 million and will allow the provincial treasury to record revenue from OPG of $463 million for just one quarter. That money comes from the pockets of the ratepayers of the province and will clearly help to supplement the “Ontario Electricity Rebate” program.

As a ratepayer/taxpayer it is both annoying and expensive to realize we pay for unreliable wind and solar generation as well as spilled hydro and those idling gas plants needed to back-up them up!

The time has come to recognize the facts and cancel wind and solar contracts or only pay them when they deliver NEEDED power.  That action would help keep OPG’s rates down at the same time.

The OEB and IESO are Coming After us Ratepayers Again

It appears the almost 200 employees at the OEB and the over 700 employees at IESO who collectively must survive on an average annual salary, plus benefits, of only $150K are concerned as the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people in the province.

If for some reason you felt their concerns were related to all the people who have been laid off or will lose their jobs or businesses because of the pandemic you would be sadly mistaken!

The concern, as expressed by the OEB is with OPG and electricity transmitters, ie: Hydro One!  Their recent letter of April 29, 2020 instructs those two parties to:  establish “Deferral Accounts to Record Impacts Arising from the COVID-19 Emergency”.  The letter notes; “electricity and natural gas distributors* may incur incremental costs as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”  As a result, the “OEB ordered the establishment of a deferral account with sub-accounts for electricity and natural gas distributors to use to track any incremental costs and lost revenues related to the COVID-19 pandemic effective March 24, 2020.”

NB: deferral accounts are set up to recoup lost revenue!

The IESO held a webinar April 23, 2020 titled: “An overview of COVID-19 impacts on electricity system operations” to also deal with the issues.

IESO disclosed some interesting pieces of information in their webinar such as:  “IESO and stakeholders have been limiting staff on-site, deferring non-essential work, and focusing on core operations” and “A third control room was built and successfully deployed in 10 days, which can be used to further maintain physical separation of control room operators”.

The latter disclosure is a big wow, as many of us have been after IESO to provide up-to-date disclosure information on issues such as: curtailed wind, spilled hydro, embedded generation etc. etc. for years without success but show them a “pandemic” and they can apparently accomplish a new “control room” in 10 days!  A simple search on the IESO website of “transparency” generates 2,290 hits but for some reason they have difficulty generating the foregoing information for those of us with a curious mind!

IESO’s webinar does provide some interesting information and the following stands out not so much for its truthfulness as much as for what IESO ignores.  First, what they posted: “High surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions are often observed in the spring when demand is low and there are large amounts of energy from hydroelectric resources caused by higher water levels”.  The foregoing comes as no surprise however, what is surprising is, they make no mention of either wind or solar’s penchant to produce much higher generation during the Spring!  Why focus on what we all know and avoid what we would like to know?

Needless to say, the webinar info discloses (with the exception of residential consumption increasing by 4%) all segments: small commercial, industrial, etc. are showing decreased consumption in the double digit category meaning surplus baseload generation is being exported (at very cheap prices) or (non-disclosed) we are curtailing wind or spilling hydro and it will appear in our future bills and we must pay for it.

Add the above to the OEB and IESO efforts to ensure OPG and Hydro One employees (as well as themselves) can maintain their lifestyles and watch those OEB “deferral accounts” bound upwards.

Ratepayers should prepare themselves for future rate increases to ensure all those overworked and underpaid “public service” employees in the electricity sector receive their entitlements!

*While the word “distributors” is used we are unsure if that applies to all of the almost 70 LDC (local distribution companies) in the province.

Climate Change Activists and their Strange Bedfellows

For a couple of decades, individuals and environmental groups around the world voiced the view that AGW (anthropogenic global warming), now referenced as “climate change”, was an upcoming catastrophic event, unless we humans curb emissions of CO2. An increase of earth’s average temperature of 1.5 degrees by the year 2100 forecast by the UNIPCC, would reputedly destroy mankind.  Politicians around the world bought into the premise; it was mankind causing the climate to change!

Those politicians, inspired by eco-warriors insisted; we must stop using fossil fuels or we are doomed.

Those who weren’t completely sold on the “premise” (this writer included) as time went on, lost faith in the forecasts and the uptake of the pseudo-science the UNIPCC and others proclaimed. More and more evidence of their bad forecasts were slowly laid bare. The claims made; looked to be nothing more than a giant “Ponzi scheme” or simply ignorance among those screaming the loudest.

Politicians around the world however, bought into the claims! Those politicians agreed technology like; wind turbines, biomass, ethanol, solar cells, electric cars, etc. were a way to end fossil fuel usage and save mankind from the catastrophe.  Politicians rushed to buy into the foregoing even though the technology associated with most of it was developed in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.  Legislation, regulations, mandates, etc. were passed with increasing frequency to achieve the goals set by the eco-warriors! Electricity rates and other fuel costs shot up in countries where government subsidies were mandated and taxpayers paid for them. Those actions have cost trillions of dollars globally!

Needless to say the push to discard fossil fuels in Canada reached an epiphany in the minds of the eco-warriors as Canadians elected a minority Liberal government last fall.  Support would come from the NDP, the Green Party and the Bloc!  The election results would surely deliver their objectives!

Suddenly however, Canada and the rest of the world were caught up in the Covid-19 pandemic and “climate change” was relegated to an issue well down the list of priorities. The pandemic however, didn’t discourage those eco-warriors as they joined hands and sent dozens of letters to parliament claiming “climate change” needed to be treated as the next major catastrophic event.

Even as government deficits climbed those eco-warriors and their corporate compatriots such as CanWEA joined together. Robert Hornung of CanWEA even had the gall to suggest on March 24, 2020 to “Bloomberg Law”* that: “Among possible renewable energy measures, the federal government could speed up the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s construction of green projects, Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said.” The group also suggested the government increase the amount of renewable energy it consumes.” The same article quotes Chris Severson-Baker, Alberta’s regional director at the Pembina Institute in respect to Alberta Premier Kenny’s ask of “the federal government to suspend any new environmental regulations, including any increase in a national carbon tax.”  Kenny’s request upset Severson-Baker who said; “It’s total opportunism to talk about targeting those things”.  Apparently, he believes it’s OK to tax us all while creating further unemployment in the middle of this economic meltdown while our governments spend our future taxes by the tens of billions of dollars and many companies lose their ability to survive. 

Very recently eco-warriors have become totally silent, perhaps due to the recent release of Michael Moore’s documentary; Planet of the Humans on Earth Day (April 22nd).  Since its “free” release, just four days ago on YouTube it has had almost 2.4 million views.

The documentary delves into the relationship between eco-warriors and certain capitalists such as Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Al Gore, Jeremy Grantham, GM, Goldman Sachs, Koch Brothers, and several others.  Along the way it discloses how both groups benefited by feeding false information to the media and to those of us absorbing the messages repeated by the MSM.

The film dispels the reputed benefits of industrial wind turbines, solar panels, ethanol fuels, biomass, EVs and their batteries and highlights either the incompetence and or lies spread by eco-warriors in their push to save the world. The film brings out the fact those sources of energy actually do more harm than good for the environment and have little if any effect on emissions.

The fact the film connects eco-warriors to the corporate elite suggests the collaboration is really about extracting monies from the general population more than it was about saving the planet. To this writer it certainly appears to have been one of the biggest “Ponzi schemes” ever perpetrated but will we ever know the truth?

*It is worth noting Bloomberg Law is a part of the Bloomberg Industry Group founded by Michael Bloomberg the former Democratic Presidential candidate and multi-billionaire, mentioned in Michael Moore’s documentary “Planet of the Humans”.

Have the Tides Finally Turned?

As we descend deeper into the pandemic caused by Covid-19 one wonders how it’s affecting those eco-charities pushing the “climate emergency and the reputed damage caused by fossil fuels. They claim; we must eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 or the world will face a disaster.

The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world at present has meant the “climate emergency” eco-charities have been screaming about for the past several decades, has been relegated to the back pages of both the MSM and the virtual internet community.  It is now a “back of mind” issue for almost all Canadians today, as the impact of a real emergency has taken hold.

One wonders if the decades, of this reputed emergency have passed and signifies we have wizened up to what many perceive as an unprecedented “Ponzi scheme?”  Only time will tell!

Tides Canada, a charity with US links

One of the larger and more aggressive charities to have pushed the “climate emergency” agenda in Canada is Tides Canada, an outgrowth of a US charity founded in 1976.  The US charity in 2018 had revenue of $548 million and handed out (granted) 54% or only $296 million of it.  The Canadian arm of Tides is two charities; Tides Canada Foundation and Tides Canada Initiatives Foundation. Tides Canada was founded in the year 2000 according to their website.

A review of their latest CRA filings for the two charities show collective revenues of $35.884 million versus collective revenues of $7.416 million in the prior year.  So, revenues were up by $28.468 million however, $7 million of that was simply a donation from Tides Canada Foundation to Tides Canada Initiatives Foundation. The actual increase in revenue was therefore up $21.458 million or 289.3%.  From examination of the $7 million transferred it appears a lot of it was destined for First Nations grants which raises the question; were those grants connected with the rail blockades aimed at stopping the Coastal Gaslink pipeline?

If one discounts the inter-foundation transfer and looks at where the $28.468 million actually came from you discover, $5.431 million or 18.8% came from Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments,  $7.404 million (25,6%) came from outside Canada, 25.3% or $7.298 million came from other charities and only $3.445 million or 11.9% were actual donations from parties who received charitable receipts.

Reviewing Tide’s donations, the two foundations paid out $12.7 million in grants including those paid to First Nations. The usual cabal of eco-charities (focused on the elimination of the Canadian oil and gas sector) received grants from Tides and included; Environmental Defence, the Sierra Club, the David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, etc. etc. Total grant payouts represented 43.9% of the $28.868 million of adjusted gross revenues. To this writer, that suggests an inefficient charity with well paid staff.  Along those lines an examination of the CRA compensation report for the top 10 employed by the foundations suggests an average salary of about $118K each.

Eco-warrior concerns

The pandemic seems to be causing angst elsewhere amongst the proponents of the “climate emergency” with one article suggesting that “EU carbon market prices are plummeting as a result of the economic shutdown.” The article noted as of March 25th the price had dropped by 40% and a Polish representative called for scrapping it altogether even though it generated €2.2 billion in auctioning revenues last year for Poland.  If there are low levels of emissions, which is the current situation with business shut down, companies who normally emit them don’t have to buy carbon credits.  A recent article in January 2020 stated “The European carbon market – the world’s largest by volume and value – rose in worth by 30% to €169 billion.”  Many of those European country’s governments will suffer severe revenue shortages as those invisible emissions decline.  As a result, it may cause them to either increase other forms of taxation or reduce spending. As an aside, the emissions reductions may also negatively affect agricultural production and drive food costs higher due to reduced crop yields.

In the US an emerging concern has been amplified by AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) with them saying on March 19ththe global pandemic is putting $43 billion of wind industry investments and payments at risk.”  As explained in the Power Magazine article the biggest concern is not about the people affected by Covid-19 it’s about the delays that will occur in erecting industrial wind turbines.  The delay will result in “expiring tax credits” so AWEA have appealed to Congress.

AWEA in its appeal to Congress said that developers of wind energy projects have been moving forward “based on what appeared the safe assumption that their projects would qualify for the federal production or investment tax credits”.  With those tax credits expiring, delays in completing those projects could push them past deadlines to qualify for the credits.”

Not surprisingly AWEA have got the Democrats on side as the article goes on to state: “Leaders of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition on Thursday said they will push for tax credits for renewable energy in any stimulus legislation. Democratic Reps. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Doris Matsui of California, and Paul Tonko of New York, co-chairs of the committee, in a statement said, “Our members pushed for these credits in the end-of-year funding package and will continue to fight for them in this round of economic stimulus.”

It is discerning to realize; the eco-warriors, the carbon market traders, the wind and solar renewable energy companies and left leaning politicians continue to gang up on hard working taxpayers and now as the world faces a true emergency they have the gall to ignore the pandemic and instead continue to push their agenda at the expense of the citizens of the free world.

It’s time for the cabal to take off their blinkers and to understand, “the tides have turned”!

This Ponzi scheme must come to an end!

During the pandemic Federal and Provincial Governments should save real “charitable” jobs not those related to “climate change”

One of the fallouts resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic as recently reported was: “Canada’s charities say they have begun laying off staff and shutting down their services, which are usually in high demand during economic downturns, as the sector feels the financial sting from COVID-19.”

What is a “charity?

As most of us know the institutions referred to in Canada as charities, has changed, as much wider regulations were brought in by Prime Minister Trudeau’s government. The change now allows charities to “carry out unlimited “public policy dialogue and development activities”.  This means they are free to spend money on partisan issues favouring political parties. The charities of the “climate change” religion love the change and many of them have expanded those partisan activities.  Many of us however don’t think charities of their ilk are what we feel are real charities!

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word “charity” as, 1. benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity and 2. generosity and helpfulness esp. toward the needy or suffering.

These aren’t charities!

Back in 2014 the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency) was investigating seven* (7) environmental charities however as soon as the Liberal Party was swept into power the investigation was cancelled.  Reviewing the most recent CRA filings and a news report (Pembina) for those seven charities one discovers in the latest year they received $7,449,747 in grants or contracts ($183,000) from the government.  If the foregoing isn’t disturbing enough, their latest CRA filings indicate they collectively received $22,107,186 in donations from other charities.  It is difficult to understand exactly how that almost $30 million is somehow remotely associated with the Merriam Webster definition of what constitutes a “charity”!

The other galling piece of information about the almost $30 million of charitable donations that “group of seven” received is; some of it came from charities owned by the Province such as the Trillium Foundation and the Greenbelt Foundation which are both dependent on funding from Ontario taxpayers.  Gross revenue for the seven was just under $39 million.  Six of the seven charities (Pembina attributed no salary costs to their charity in CRA flings) reported salaries for their top 10 employees in a range from $40K to $350K and the average salary of each of the 54 of them, would appear to be just shy of $100K per annum.  Those salaries are not what one would expect from those who are benevolent and want to help the needy,

It should also be noted those seven “environmental” charities are just a few of the thousands of environmental groups active in Canada and registered with the CRA as charities.  Many of them can be found on “RECEN” (The Canadian Environmental Network) and many others can be found listed on the Canadian Directory for Environmental Groups. Additionally a number of major corporations such as TD Bank and Suncor have established charities that hand out money to many environmental charities such as the Clean Economy Fund (a Bruce Lourie creation) who in turn hand it out to other environmental charities.  Another example is “Evergreen” a Pan-Canadian Expert collaborator who received  $375K from the Suncor Foundation and additional funds from MaRS Discovery District. The latter (a provincially owned charity) also received funds from Suncor.  It’s become a game of “follow the money” for a lot of us taxpayers.

How Dare They!

The Federal and Provincial governments in Canada need to take some time and speak with those who are engaged in real philanthropy and stop calling climate change activates, charitable institutions.

Save the jobs of real charitable workers and let the eco-warriors figure out how to keep their lights on!

*The David Suzuki Foundation, Tides Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, The Pembina Foundation, Environmental      Defence, Equiterre and the Ecology Action Centre