Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Anyone remember the Sprung Greenhouse fiasco? In 1987, Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford attempted to boost local employment by subsidizing the building of a massive hydroponic greenhouse operation that its inventor, Philip Sprung, said would turn the province into a world leader in green produce. His plan had failed in Alberta, but in Peckford he found a gullible partner willing to abandon common sense and start signing over other people's money.
During the construction phase the premier pointed with pride to the hundreds of jobs apparently created. Meanwhile the province kept signing cheques and promising that cucumbers and economic renewal were on the way in equal measure.
Cucumbers did start appearing. The problem was each one cost $1.10 to grow, and the wholesale market price was just over 50 cents. The greenhouse went bankrupt and ceased operations by 1990. The jobs vanished, and the tiny province was left with $14 million in debts to pay.
Never forget: jobs are created by profitable businesses, period. Industries reliant on subsidies do not generate jobs, they destroy them. Subsidies create short-term jobs that have to be financed by new taxes on profitable activity, which drives away long-term investment and ends up costing jobs.
People in Ontario ridiculed the Sprung fiasco at the time. But I guess we didn't really learn anything, for now we are madly building our own versions of the Sprung greenhouses. This time they are called wind turbines.
Their salesmen have found in Dalton McGuinty their own Brian Peckford. They convinced him we can become a world leader, not in green produce, but green energy. Common sense has been jettisoned and the cheques are flowing.
We already have green energy. Most of our electricity comes from non-emitting hydro and nuclear generation, at a fraction of the cost of wind-and solar-generated power. By the government's own data, Ontario air pollution has fallen dramatically since the 1970s through the use of scrubbers and automobile technology (check it out at airqualityontario.com).Most of our remaining smog precursors originate in the U.S. An expert report to the government in 2005 -- which was promptly marked "Classified," but a copy of which I obtained -- showed that closing our two coal-fired power plants would make no measurable difference to summertime smog levels, especially since they would require gas-fired replacements.
Wind turbines, like solar panels, can generate electricity but they require backup gas generators to compensate for the fluctuating yield.
And, like Sprung's cucumbers, those green electrons don't create jobs, they annihilate them. Wind turbines don't run on wind, they run on subsidies and rigged prices, or "feed-in-tariffs." Green energy will only be a source of jobs the day the industry can produce electricity at competitive market rates and still pay its own bills.
Ontario was not the first region to fall for the scam. Spain did years ago. Recently an independent analysis showed the plan destroyed 2.2 jobs for every one created. Over the past month Spain has slashed subsidies for green power producers and capped the size of the sector. France has also begun eliminating subsidies in the wake of a report showing that, after the temporary, subsidy-driven construction jobs end, the price hikes and tax increases will lead to long-term declines in jobs and growth. And Germany -- producer of half the world's solar electricity -- just announced accelerated cuts in solar subsidies in response to the same economic realities, with hints the subsidies may not survive a scheduled review in 2012.
Everywhere it's the same story. Green energy salesmen bamboozle gullible governments into signing cheques in return for empty promises of jobs and growth. As the bills mount, prices rise and the economy sags, the inevitable unravelling begins. It will happen here too. The only question is how many jobs will disappear and how much economic hardship we will put up with before having the common sense to shut the scam down once and for all.
Ross McKitrick is a professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph; senior fellow of the Fraser Institute; member, Academic Advisory Board, John Deutsch Institute, Queen's University, Kingston, and member, Academic Advisory Board, Global Warming Policy Foundation, London, U.K.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
A 300 dollar a month hydro bill is just unacceptable,direct energy takes a
good chunk of the bill for delivery? of electricity?,there"s something wrong
there, as well, and i am in the process of terminating that contract. I would
suggest everyone else to check their bill and look to see if direct energy has
slithered it's way to your bill and so the same.
Direct Energy is one of those retailers who claim they can save you money. You will not be charged Time of Use billing, but what these retailed do NOT tell you when you sign up is you will be charged the Provincial Benefit (it shows as a separate line item). It is also known as the Global Adjustment. This more than doubles your rate. Hence why they won't tell you about it. You can see what the extra charge is at the IESO website.
Today it is low, but I have seen it way up to 4.50c in the summer. Demand is higher hence the lower PB. This extra charge is what the government has agreed to pay providers for power regardless of the spot price. The "benefit" isn't for you, it's for the producers of power to protect them from wild price swings (read more profit).
Now this person wants to get out of his contract. That will cost him big time. They wanted $1500 from me. But READ THE CONTRACT, there is a perfectly legal way to get out of it and pay nothing. Note the part about if you move or if someone else pays for the power. The contract is null and void. Make note of that last part, SOMEONE ELSE PAYS THE POWER. If you transfer your billings to someone else, HydroOne has to make a brand new account. That leaves you with just the retailer account, but you will never have any more consumption, so you will owe them nothing. But be prepared for the retailer to hound you, they are me. Every time they call just say "F U!" and hang up.
Create a spreadsheet like above with the following formula in each of these cells:
In C5 enter this: =SUM(C2:C4)
In D5 enter this:=SUM(D2:D4)
In A7 enter the first Kwh Consumption noted on your old bill
In B7 enter the rate on the first amount usage from the old bill
In C7 enter this: =C5-A7
In D7 enter this: =C7*B7
In B8 enter the rate from the old bills on the rest of your consumption
In C8 enter this: =C5-C7
In D8 enter this: =C8*B8
In C9 enter this: =SUM(C7:C8) (it should be the same value as C5 when it displays)
In D9 enter this:=SUM(D7:D8)
In D11 enter this:=D9-D5
D11 will be the difference between TOU on your bill compared to what your bill would have been had TOU not applied. If positive TOU is saving you money, if negative, it's costing you.
You can copy all these cells and do a month on each worktab and follow what happens over the winter.
I would be most interested in gathering cases from anyone over the next months and come March post the results here.
If you are having problems setting this up I can email you a template to work with.
a) increase the value of my property and hence increase my property taxes.
b) would selling power to the utility in a residential zoned area violate any bylaws.
The answer I got back on the second was no. I find that interesting and contradicting since my neighbour, who grows flowers to sell, was told not to because no commercial enterprises are allowed in residential areas.
The second answer I got on the first one floored me. No they do not increase the property value. Apparently such decisions are done through the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. The reply from them is that solar panels are considered a heat source, so adding that won't affect the property value.
I find that very strange that someone can put up $100,000 worth of panels on their roof, sell the power to the public grid, and this is somehow providing a heat source to the home? Sounds to me that the Liberals are involved on this and a loop hole that can be filled PDQ with a new government.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Written by Ross Ayotte
Wednesday, Deember 15th, 2010 - 04:53:40
Dear Brenda, I have phoned McGuinty's and Brad Duguid's Office for a price per kwh we will be paying by 2030. For example, 30 cents a kwh and they tell me they do not have a forecasted price per kwh by 2030. So I asked them how can you tell Ontarians that hydro will double by 2030, if you don't know the price per kwh by 2030. Then they told me for the next 20 years there will be a hydro increase of 3.5 % per year but that is just a guess it could be higher they say these numbers are not set in stone. I believe they are low balling the numbers, as the experts predict by 2015 we will be paying 21 cents a kilowatt.
Ontario consumers and industries are on their way to experiencing the highest electricity rates in North America. Once your Mcguinty meter kicks in and you will most likely start to pay even higher hydro prices unless you drastically change your lifestyle at home. I also believe McGuinty's handling of the rebuilding of Hydro is being made up on the fly as he tells Ontarians if they want to save on Hydro "do your laundry on weekends" then he says he won't apologize for hydro rates, then he says he concerned about the hardship it has caused on families so he will give us 10% discount off on the 46% increase we will get by 2015. Then the next week Brad Duguid announces hydro will double by 2030. The numbers just don't add up for the price to just double to many flip flops to be trusted like McGuinty signing a contract to build a gas power plant in Oakville only to cancel it leaving Ontarians to pay the penalty of breaking the contract and there different versions of increases and remember nothing comes in on budget.
I believe McGuinty has us on course to be close to 27 - 30 cents a kwh by 2030 and one thing Ontarians should of learned by now is McGuinty can't be trusted one just has to go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCLHMr-JZJI for proof of this. McGuinty has repeatedly broken his election promise not to raise taxes - in 2003 and 2007 he promised he would not raise taxes also in 2003 he put it writing to the Canadian Taxpay- ers Federation but it was not long after that he broke that promise back then. The McGuinty government has encouraged its ministries to pursue new cost-recovery fees and propose new revenue streams which McGuinty calls fees and which most people call taxes so how can McGuinty be trusted on hydro?
McGuinty's $7 billion deal with Samsung to produce wind power are being kept secret. So one has to ask if it's such a good deal, why is McGuinty keeping it from the people of Ontario? What was found out is this deal contains no job guarantees despite a $437 million subsidy. Under Ontario's GEA, a feed-in tariff (FIT) will siphon $3.8 billion from consumers' pockets by 2015 to subsidize wind and solar power producers just stop and think for a moment. McGuinty is subsidizing producers of wind and solar power with tax payer's money, but we will still be charged 20 times the price for this power than if we were producing power from nuclear or gas power plants. This is a bad deal for Ontario and a excellent deal for investors as McGuinty is paying up to 80 cents a kwh for green energy, Mcguinty should of bargain for far better prices as tax payers are helping fund these projects.
RW: McGuinty is doing this to line his Liberal friend's pockets who own some of these "green" companies. Who in turn donate to the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I have refused to let them install dumb meter at my house.
I emailed Ontario Hydro asking if there was a law that I had to, and if there was any penalty.
Guess what, there is no law and/or penalty.
They can not force you to accept the new dumb meter.
This fact should be made public to make people aware of the fact.
This is the reply
From: Write2us (MEI)
Sent: Fri, December 10, 2010 1:16:19 PM
Subject: Installation of Smart Meters
Dear Mr. Conversano:
I am writing in response to your e-mail of November 9, 2010, to the Ministry of Energy, regarding the obligation to allow the installation of Smart Meters.
Smart Meters are a key component of Ontario ’s commitment to a reliable and clean energy future and contribute to fostering a culture of conservation across the province. Smart Meters not only enable time-of-use (TOU) pricing, they also allow for many operational benefits such as better management of power outages and remote meter reading.
There is no provision in legislation which specifically addresses the refusal of a customer to accept a Smart Meter, or sets out a penalty for doing so. However, the government has set clear targets for TOU rates implementation which the Ontario Energy Board has mandated for electricity distributors by code. Smart Meters are required to enable the implementation of TOU rates.
Please note also that your electricity meter is the property of your electricity distributor and the distributor has the right to access its own property, and to replace the meter when necessary. A customer who prevents a distributor from accessing its own equipment would run the risk of having his or her service disconnected.
Thank you for taking the time to write, I hope that the above information will be helpful. Should you have any further questions of a general nature, please call the Ministry's information line at
1-888-668-4636, TTY 1-800-387-5559.
Acting Manager, Distribution
Smart Grid, Network Policy
One century ago, amid public outrage at the high electricity rates that came of the long-term franchise contracts that Ontario municipal governments had signed with private utilities, the municipalities reneged on the bargains they had struck. To help the municipalities stab their private-sector partners in the back, the province even went so far as to write new legislation negating previous legislation enacted specifically to ensure that franchise agreements could not be cancelled without compensation.
Fast forward to today and many of the same elements are in place. Once again in Ontario, long-term electricity contracts between the government and private-sector players are at play. Once again, public outrage is mounting at the utility rates that they face.
But there are differences between then and now, differences that make last century’s outrages pale to insignificance. The profits made by the utilities of yore, while often healthy, were hardly outrageous given the large capital risks the developers took on — many developers in fact went bankrupt. The contracts then were limited in number, typically one per municipality. And no one argued that the public had no need for the power plants that the companies were providing — the electricity was, in fact, so highly valued by the public that governments tried to expand service through public ownership, thinking that eliminating private profits would lower costs and make power more affordable.
Today, the Ontario government has been signing contracts that force consumers to pay developers absurdly high prices — as much as 20 times the market value of electricity — making electricity far less affordable. The contracts are virtually risk-free — the province guarantees that Ontario consumers will pay the sky-high rates even when the power produced is surplus to their needs, such as in the middle of the night or other periods of low demand. In fact, to deal with the growing amount of surplus wind and solar power that the developers are producing for non-existent Ontario customers, the province is giving away the power to the Americans or actually forcing Ontarians to pay Americans to take the power off our hands.
Wind and solar power megaprojects also have negative value in another respect — because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, the government must build and man expensive backup generating plants to have at the ready at all times. More negatives: The massive new transmission corridors required to bring power from industrial wind and solar farms to market and the industrial wind farms themselves, with their towering presence and relentless enervating noise, generally make for poor neighbours, leading to public protests by those who fear for their property values or for their health. To suppress local opposition, the Ontario government has passed legislation limiting the traditional rights of communities to have a say in developments that affect them.
Little wonder that, in Ontario as elsewhere, opposition has mobilized to counter the renewables megaprojects. Yet despite opposition based on high rates and interference with traditional ways of life, the Ontario government is feverishly entering in to ever more contracts. Because foreign multinationals and Canadian subsidiaries of U.S. real estate operations are grabbing an outsized share of these lavish contracts, because the terms of the contracts are kept secretive from the Canadian public, and because the contracts can be quickly flipped and reflipped for quick profits at Ontario ratepayer expense, the outrage will only grow.
To pay for the province’s many mistakes, past and present — these include an earlier round of reckless contracts from the 1980s and cost overruns on nuclear reactors, as well as the failed conservation programs and renewables contracts of today that are coming on stream — the government levies a hidden charge that it embeds in power bills. This hidden portion of power costs — in Orwellian fashion, the government calls its boondoggles the “Provincial Benefit” — already represents more than half of the costs of power generation that consumers now pay.
With the new slew of power contracts, the “Provincial Benefit” will rapidly climb further. Together with the other wild excesses driven by the renewables contracts — not least the energy welfare payments to the growing number of Ontarians entering fuel poverty — the Ontario ratepayer and taxpayer will soon reach a breaking point. After the next election, expected in a year, a new government of whatever stripe will need to renege on its deals with the renewables developers. It will have several options.
New legislation to undo the old — as happened last century — would have popular support. Even the threat to tear up the contracts would be enough to force the developers to agree to concessions.
Or, the government could simply impose a windfall profits tax to claw back egregious gains — the U.K.’s Labour government in 1997 levied such a tax retroactively on 33 utilities it deemed to have been underpriced when privatized in the 1980s. Municipal governments could also exact local justice by enacting a punitive property tax rate specific to wind and solar farms — Ontario municipalities have targeted particular industries in the past.
Environmental levies could also come into play. Earlier this year, in a judgement that was accepted by all, a court fined Syncrude $3-million for the death of 1,600 ducks that were inadvertently killed in its tar sands tailings ponds, or $1,875 per bird. The court-set Syncrude standard, if applied to wind turbines — a.k.a. Bird Cuisinarts — would threaten many wind farms. Or, by applying the Precautionary Principle, wind turbines could be shut down until the low-frequency sound they emit can be proven safe for humans.
Which option the future government chooses will depend on politics —weighing the wrath of voters from doing nothing against the wrath of future lenders and investors, who might then shun the province. And it will depend on the province’s books — how many pennies on the dollar it can afford to pay to the developers to retire the current contracts and move to a sustainable power system.
Whatever option the government chooses, a public debate would inevitably ensue, doing some good in another way. The debate would raise questions about the proper role of government in the development of an economy.
Financial Post LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.comLawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.
Next week: The Doctrine of Odious Contracts
Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/12/10/lawrence-solomon-how-to-renege-on-egregious-green-contracts/#ixzz17onCDcGp
Friday, December 10, 2010
By Ellen Roseman Tue Dec 7 2010
Alan Skeoch was paying $477 a month for electricity used at his farm near Erin, Ont., using direct debits from his bank account.
On Dec. 1, Hydro One withdrew $11,907 from his account without notice, wiping out all his savings.
He had fallen behind on his payments because the electricity meter at his second property hadn’t been read since 2008.
“The burden of guilt seemed to be placed on my shoulders,” Skeoch, 71, a retired teacher and part-time CBC radio broadcaster, said by e-mail.
“Why did I not read the meter? (Are you kidding? What good would that do?)
“Did I not know that I was underpaying? (Are you kidding? I just paid my bill in equalized payments, automatically deducted, and trusted that they knew their business charges.)
“Had I not given them access to my bank account? (That was very stupid of me, I realize now.)”
Many utilities offer budget billing plans that let you pay the same amount each month and make catch-up payments once a year.
But you can end up with a whopping final adjustment if the utility sets the monthly installments too low – as Enbridge Gas did earlier this year, affecting 100,000 customers.
At least Enbridge put a temporary hold on preauthorized payments for those who received warning letters about high annual adjustments.
Hydro One, however, just swooped in without notice to grab the money from Skeoch’s bank account.
“Subsequent hysterics with three agents and three supervisors have got me nowhere,” he said, adding that he’d like to ban the phrase, “Have a nice day, sir,” used by one employee.
Skeoch went to the media with his story, which prompted Hydro One to offer a 24-month period to repay the difference between his estimates and his actual electricity usage for the past two years.
“We told him we would immediately made arrangements for the charges to be reversed. That may not have taken place with his bank yet, but it has been set in motion,” said utility spokeswoman Daniele Gauvin.
Electricity meters are read just once a year for seasonal accounts. That’s how the problem arose.
“If your cottage consumption was X in the summer of 2008, then we send you bills during the year based on that reading,” Gauvin explained.
“In the summer of 2009, we read it again when we can access your property and base the next year’s billing on the updated summer 2009 meter reading.”
In Skeoch’s case, Hydro One read the meter in summer 2008 and 2010, but not in 2009. So, the final reconciliation reflected increased energy usage over two years (from the 2008 baseline).
Starting in September, customers can see the amount owing and the withdrawal date on their bills. But Skeoch, who said he pays by preauthorized debits because he doesn’t want to worry, never looks at his bills.
He has an electric furnace and water heater at his country home, a 25-acre property that has been in his family since 1908.
“I’m getting rid of the furnace and water heater, but I’m not going to use an outhouse like my grandparents did,” he says.
Hydro One tries to call customers in Skeoch’s position to talk to them about spreading out their payments. But the call never took place.
“We’re reviewing our customer service process to identify ways we can improve,” said Gauvin.
In my view, companies should be accountable for recurring billing errors.
Hydro One could have made concessions to a retiree earning $3,000 a month – instead of sticking him with a bill of almost $12,000 – after failing to read his meter for two years.
But in a world where customers often take the blame for not spotting errors, you have to double-check your bills. Ask questions if something isn’t clear. Find out whether you’re up to date.
Pay attention to what you’re paying.
Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MPP and Ontario PC Leader
Since becoming leader of the Ontario PC Party, I have travelled all over this great province talking to families, seniors and business owners about their rising hydro bills.
Whether I’m in Toronto, Timiskaming or home in Niagara, I am hearing similar stories everywhere I go. When the electricity bill arrives at people’s homes, it sits unopened for days because they know the bill only goes one way, and that’s up.
From smart meters, to the Green Energy Act, to the Samsung subsidy, electricity bills are skyrocketing. When you add in the impact of the HST and other rate increases, the annual cost of electricity bills for Ontario families is set to increase by another $732 per year by 2015, according to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
Premier McGuinty is running Ontario’s hydro system in a way that is unsustainable. He’s handing out massive subsidies to preferential energy developers that are well above the market price for power. In the end, it’s you who pays the price on your hydro bills.
Other jurisdictions that adopted similar buy-high, sell-low approaches to energy policy are walking away from the practice after discovering it is unsustainable, unaffordable and killing jobs quicker than the subsidies are creating them.
Spain, for example, found that 2.2 jobs were lost in its broader economy for every one job that was created by the subsidies. The Bruno Leoni Institute found Italy’s similar approach cost 4.8 jobs in the broader economy for every subsidized job created; or for every new manufacturing job created, this approach cost 6.9 other manufacturing jobs.
With evidence of this policy’s failing ways from jurisdictions whose policies inspired the Liberal Green Energy Act — I find it unbelievable that Dalton McGuinty continues to plow full steam ahead with the same expensive experiments here.
It is clear that Ontario needs a long-term, pragmatic energy plan that recognizes energy policy is economic policy, not a social program. That is why a future PC government will take a different approach. Above all, we must place the consumer’s ability to pay at the forefront of all energy sector decisions.
Nuclear facilities are an affordable, reliable and emissions-free source of electricity that supplied more than 50 per cent of our electricity last year. Given the 10-year lead time for a new nuclear facility, an Ontario PC government will make immediate decisions on investing in nuclear power facilities, new and refurbished.
We also recognize how important hydro electricity has been to Ontario’s economic development and it should continue to be a part of our future supply mix. And let me be clear, renewable energy should be a part of Ontario’s supply mix, but it must be at prices we can afford.
To give families and seniors a break, we will give them the ability to choose whether time-of-use pricing works for their household. Not every family can get their kids up and ready for school before 7 a.m. Not every senior can wait until after 9 p.m. to do laundry.
Jurisdictions across the U.S., Europe and Australia provide families with a choice of time-of-use or fixed rates. Ontario families deserve that same choice.
We will also create a consumer advocate at the Ontario Energy Board — the provincial regulator for Ontario’s electricity and gas sectors — to ensure the impact on consumers is considered before any decisions are made.
I want to be the next premier of Ontario for the same reason I first ran for public office some 15 years ago, and that’s to stand up for families and seniors who work hard and play by the rules. But today, families like that have fallen off the list of priorities for this government.
Working together, we can give families, seniors and small businesses an energy policy that will respect the fact they pay the bills and will also help fuel the growth of Ontario’s economy. And together, we can restore Ontario’s rightful place as the powerhouse of Confederation.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Problem is, not only would current contract owners sue the government for breach of contract, companies who are ramping up production here in Ontario to sell solar panels are threatening to sue the government if they stop the FIT program in the future.
A new government coming in on Oct 2011 isn't going to want to break contracts as that would be a bad precedent to set. But the costs of the FIT program is prohibitively expensive -- for the next 20 years!
So how do you get out of these contracts? The Czech Republic has a solution. A surtax on FIT contracts. The government can slap a 25%, or more, surtax on the gross revenue that solar and wind owners get for power. This is before they pay anything else, like the loans for the equipment and income taxes to the levels of government. Thus making their contract unprofitable. Not only would this kill future FIT contracts, but also existing contracts.
Best of all there is nothing the FIT contract owners can do about it. Governments can't be sued over imposing taxation measures.
The money, while it lasted, could be used to offset higher electrical prices with rebates to consumers. Once the FIT contracts are all gone, the price of power would fall.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Premier of Ontario
In 2003, Ontario’s electricity system was dangerously close to failure.
How did this happen?
Very simply, for years supply was going down while demand for electricity kept going up. During the previous eight years, as old equipment was shut down, Ontario lost 1,800 megawatts in generation. That’s the equivalent of Niagara Falls running dry.
Also troubling, we doubled our use of coal to generate our electricity. That meant polluting our air and harming our health every time we turned on the lights. Back then, there was no plan for conservation. And we had become net importers of electricity — relying on even more dirty coal from the United States.
Whose fault was it?
There’s lots of blame to go around. Governments of every political stripe knew the system was deteriorating and did nothing. By 2003, brownouts were a constant threat. The previous government’s plan was to use emergency diesel generators — again, a stopgap, dirty air solution.
The uncertainty of supply, and the absence of a long-term plan to rebuild, made our businesses nervous. International investors were also raising concerns.
That’s why our government acted. We developed a plan to build a modern, clean, reliable electricity system that creates jobs and powers a stronger economy. And, today, our electricity system is stronger.
Already, we’ve built enough new, cleaner generation to power 2 million Ontario homes. About a fifth of that comes from renewable sources like wind and solar. Today, 5,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution lines have been upgraded. And today, conservation programs are back and saving families money.
Together, we’re on track to close Ontario’s dirty coal plants. We’ve shut down eight units so far and two more will close in 2011. By 2014, coal will be completely eliminated in Ontario. That’s like taking 7 million cars off the road — or almost every car in Ontario.
We’re doing this because coal pollution is responsible for $3 billion in annual health-care costs, hospitalizations and respiratory illnesses, especially in our children. We’re avoiding those costs and protecting the health of Ontarians.
Our plan has led to a new, clean-energy industry that is creating thousands of jobs for Ontario families. Those are good jobs — making the wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass energy that Ontario needs. And they are high-tech manufacturing jobs — building solar panels, wind turbines and other components for sale here at home and to the United States and around the world, where the demand for green energy keeps growing.
Today, Ontario is Canada’s leader in wind power with more than 700 turbines supplying enough electricity to power 350,000 homes. The Sarnia Solar Project, one of four solar farms in Ontario, is the largest operating solar farm in the world, creating 800 jobs during construction.
In partnership with the Moose Cree First Nation, we’ve also begun the Lower Mattagami project, the largest northern hydro project in 40 years. It will mean jobs for 800 people during its construction. And many more clean energy manufacturing plants are opening in communities like Toronto, Guelph, Windsor, Hamilton and Peterborough.
We’re also partnering with thousands of farmers, like John Sauve in Essex County. He grows corn, soybeans and wheat. And he recently installed a ground-mounted 10-kilowatt solar generator.
John is one of many thousands of farmers with solar panels or wind turbines in their fields. Our plan is providing these Ontario farmers with a new source of income, and they are providing Ontario with good food and clean energy. It’s a win-win.
Thanks to the hard work of skilled Ontarians, we became Number 1 in North America for building cars. Now, our goal is to become a powerhouse in clean energy technologies, too.
We know investing in this new plan isn’t cheap. Over the next 20 years, we will rebuild 70 per cent of our electricity system.
Our new system will give us reliable, clean power and thousands of jobs in an exciting new industry. And anyone who pretends they can do this without prices going up isn’t being honest with Ontarians.
On average, electricity prices for families and small businesses will go up 3.5 per cent a year during the next 20 years. For comparison, they went up 3.6 per cent a year during the past 20 years.
To help Ontarians manage these increases, we are proposing a Clean Energy Benefit which would take 10 per cent off electricity bills every month for families, farmers and small businesses.
Our energy plan is about more than the peace of mind that comes from knowing the lights will come on. It’s about a strong economy where businesses have the confidence to invest and create jobs for our families. And it’s about clean air for our children and grandchildren to breathe.
We can all take confidence in the fact that, together, we’re doing the right thing for right now — and for a stronger future.
Monday, December 6, 2010
CBC Radio One is running a story tomorrow morning you may be interested in.
It's about a Hydro One customer whose bank account was recently emptied to pay for a very high bill he wasn't aware existed. He is on an equalized payment plan and was paying a monthly sum. The problem is, no one from Hydro One had read his meter since August 2008.
It sounds similar to many of the Hydro One customers who have posted on your blog.
I am interested in speaking with you--and learning more about the class action suit you plan to launch.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kindest regards, Kimberly.
BRITISH households will have to pay an estimated £450 a year each to fund the Government’s ambitious green power plans according to calculations by uSwitch.com, the price comparison service.
Read more: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/215536/Householders-to-pay-price-for-green-plansHouseholders-to-pay-price-for-green-plans#ixzz17LO0vcYd
Saturday, December 4, 2010
The Ontario government paints itself in extreme green. It has outlawed coal — the only jurisdiction on the continent to have done so. It boasts the world’s biggest solar plant. It boasts the western world’s biggest subsidies to the renewables industry. And now, it also boasts the western world’s fastest-growing renewables industry.
But Ontario’s new-found status didn’t arise because Ontario newly increased its level of its subsidies. It arose because the world’s other extreme green jurisdictions — to avert the economic and political ruin that comes of unaffordable green power — recently swallowed their pride, slashed their subsidies and backstabbed their renewables industries. Like its extreme green counterparts elsewhere, Ontario will follow suit soon enough.
On Friday, Spain slashed payouts for wind projects by 35% while denying support for solar thermal projects in their first year of operation. Spain’s renewables industry also faces a cap on the number of megawatt-hours eligible for subsidized rates. This latest round of Spanish cuts followed announcements in November that payouts for solar photovoltaic plants would be cut by 45%. Drastic as all these cuts seem — they will gut large parts of the renewables industry — they come as a relief to the industry, which had feared worse. In June, the Spanish government had threatened to renege on contracts it had entered into with the renewables industry, effectively bankrupting it.
Also Friday, France announced a four-month freeze on solar projects and a cap on the amount of solar that can be built, to nip a “veritable speculative bubble” by its rapacious renewables industry. These measures and others continue a retrenchment that saw industry payouts cut twice earlier this year, and that will likely continue as opposition grows to France’s rapidly rising power tax on electricity. Complains the French renewables industry, which predicts job losses amid the slew of projects that will disappear: “It’s a sad joke to change regulations every three months.”
Earlier this week, the German government announced it may discontinue the solar industry’s sweetheart tariffs in 2012. This latest announcement follows a surprise reduction in 2009 and another reduction to start in 2011. More is in the offing. In October, the German Energy Agency, the country’s official advisor on renewables, called for Germany’s drive toward solar to be “cut back quickly and drastically” by capping its installations of solar panels at a mere one gigawatt per year, down from the estimated eight to 10 GW being installed this year. Past cuts alone, it warned, would not avert the “catastrophe” of too much solar.
Also in October, New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, slashed by two-thirds the revenue that homeowners who had installed solar panels would receive, from 60¢ per kilowatt-hour to 20¢. The state’s solar manufacturers say this will put them out of business, and those out of state shudder that other Australian states will follow suit, effectively ending the country’s solar boom. New South Wales overnight went from being Australia’s most generous to least generous subsidizer.
Also in October, the U.K. government announced that withering spending cuts were coming to renewable projects, many of which have already been withering, and not just due to government austerity measures, or to the consumer backlash against rising power rates. Because of fierce grassroots opposition from the U.K.’s 230-odd anti-wind organizations, local governments have shelved or rejected two out of three wind-farm applications that have come before them. That ratio is likely to get worse for the wind industry, thanks to changes to planning laws that will be strengthening local councils at the expense of a national planning agency.
With the market for wind shrinking, Denmark’s Vestas, the world’s largest wind-turbine company, recently announced it is closing five production facilities in Denmark and Sweden and laying off 3,000 workers, or one-seventh of its global workforce. Other wind companies are also preparing for a downsized market.
The coming collapse of the renewables industry — largely a creature of backroom lobbying for government favours by multinationals — is also evident on this side of the ocean. In the U.S., state regulators in Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Virginia have either cancelled or delayed renewable-energy projects that would raise rates on consumers, even when the rate hike that would have resulted was well under 1%. Explained Virginia’s regulators, in rejecting a contract that would have raised rates by 0.2%: “The ratepayers of Virginia must be protected from costs for renewable energy that are unreasonably high.”
With rising sentiment against renewables, new wind-power installations in the U.S. were down by more than 70% in the first three quarters of 2010, when compared with 2009. “What we’re seeing here, I think, with these across-the-board rejections for [purchase power agreements] for wind is that [regulators] are saying that costs are too high,” states the Illinois Wind Energy Association’s executive director.
In extreme green Ontario, which is experiencing rate hikes 50 times greater than those countenanced in some U.S. jurisdictions, the provincial regulator, having been neutered by the government, is unable to protect the public from renewables-related rate hikes. But the Ontario government’s renewables steamroller has nevertheless lost much of its steam.
Following public protests, and in advance of an election in which power prices are expected to loom large, one major natural gas plant — needed to back up wind turbines — was recently cancelled. Other natural gas plants, again opposed by the public, may likewise fall. The wind farms that require such backups, and which are themselves opposed by dozens of community groups and their local governments, could be next in this house of cards.
But cancelling uneconomic projects in Ontario would not necessarily stop rates from rising. For one thing, many of the uneconomic projects that have been approved are not yet producing power, and so have not yet caused rates to rise. For another, cancelling projects after they have government approval would sometimes raise rates further because of the cancellation penalties involved in breaking a contract.
The Ontario battleground would then be set for a confrontation between the province’s captive ratepayers and a renewables industry that had been making off like bandits through unconscionable contracts cooked up in secret with the provincial government. The pressure on future provincial governments to negate those odious deals — not only to abort deals not yet completed but to abrogate those already signed and sealed — would then be overwhelming and irresistible.
How does a government that putatively respects contracts freely rip them up? Western jurisdictions in general, and Ontario in particular, have ample precedents to draw on. Next week, I will discuss the options before governments of the future, and before the renewables investors of today. Let the investor beware.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers
Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/12/03/lawrence-solomon-green-collapse/#ixzz17AGFMtAg
Thursday, December 2, 2010
And, of course, you will be paying MORE for that drop in available power. And the utilities will demand even MORE to compensate for that loss of revenue due to forced demand destruction, forced, not by fundementals, but by government policy.
Ontario will have less actual electrical generation capacity in 2030 than in 2010 — and will have spent $87-billion to accomplish this!
Ontario claims huge power capacity from ‘conservation’
By Parker Gallant
Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, released his much-touted Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) on Nov. 23. It promised great things, as one would expect from an expenditure of $87-billion, including no more coal plants and a wonderful world of clean energy. Ontario would be the first and possibly only jurisdiction to eliminate coal from the electricity grid!
A quick trip through the plan brings you to the “Installed Capacity” chart on page 65, which shows that in 2003 the Ontario electricity system had installed capacity of 30,000 megawatts. By 2010 this had increased to almost 37,000 MW under the watch of Premier Dalton McGuinty. Looking ahead 20 years to 2030, Ontario will have 48,000 MW available to power the province. “Good things grow in Ontario” — or do they?
Most jurisdictions around the world count their installed capacity as coming from their power generating plants. The Ontario chart credits Ontario with installed “conservation” capacity of 1,837 MW in 2010 and by 2030 it claims this conservation capacity will climb to 7,100 MW. Plug your radio alarm clock into the conservation outlet and I guarantee you will sleep right through it! I am sure the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) will run into difficulties throttling “conservation” up or down, but maybe by 2030 the smart grid will allow them to do that.
The “installed capacity” forecast indicates Ontario will have a little more nuclear, a little more hydroelectric and a little less gas. On the big-increase list of installed capacity, Ontario will have another 9,000 MW of those sporadic supplies from wind and solar.
If you deduct the fictitious claim that conservation is “installed capacity,” the 48,000 MW becomes 40,900 MW in 2030 and 35,138 for 2010, which looks like a gain of about 5,000 MW by 2030. If you do the math on the reliability factor of wind and solar and adjust it for an average of 30% actual generation capability, to account for the fact that the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, the capacity in 2010 drops to 34,298 MW and in 2030 to 33,900 MW.
The end result: Ontario will have less actual electrical generation capacity in 2030 than in 2010 — and will have spent $87-billion to accomplish this!
Parker Gallant is a retired banker who looked at his electricity bills and didn’t like what he saw.
Ontario Families Will Pay for Dalton McGuinty’s Energy Experiments Through Higher Bills and Lost Jobs
It’s bad enough that Dalton McGuinty’s costly energy experiments are forcing families to pay a mark-up of up to 20 times the market rate for electricity. But at a time when Ontario is already struggling to get on its feet after the global economic recession, similar experiments in Europe indicate that families will have to brace themselves for new job losses.
In Spain, 2.2 jobs were lost for each so-called “green” job created. In Italy, studies show the price of one green job costs 4.8 jobs in the overall Italian economy, and 6.9 jobs in the industrial sector. Meanwhile, Ontario has already lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs since Dalton McGuinty came to office.
In spite of the European experience, and open skepticism about his energy policies from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and his own Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress, the McGuinty Liberals are going full-steam ahead with sweetheart subsidies to foreign companies. Clearly, Dalton McGuinty is out of touch with the priorities of hard-working families.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Just over a decade ago, Ontario Hydro died, buried under the weight of an unserviceable debt. The chief agents of its destruction? Uneconomic nuclear power, in the form of the $14-billion Darlington nuclear power plant, and uneconomic alternative energy generation, in the form of $6-billion in contracts with private power producers. Taxpayers and ratepayers are still paying off the $30-billion debt that Hydro left behind through higher taxes and higher electricity bills, with no end in sight — 90% of the debt remains.
This week, the Ontario government published its Long-Term Energy Plan. Under it, the province and Ontario Hydro’s successors are committing to more uneconomic nuclear power projects and more uneconomic alternative energy generation contracts, but on a far bigger scale than the old Ontario Hydro ever undertook. The grave the government is digging this time is big enough to bury the province as well as the power sector.
Where the four reactors at Darlington cost $14-billion, the new long-range plan calls for $33-billion, more than double the previous price tag, and that’s to build just two new reactors and refurbish 10 old ones, including those at Darlington. That $33-billion estimate is more a wish than a firm projection. Nuclear reactors, notorious for their cost overruns, typically come in at two to three times their original estimates. Darlington, originally estimated at $3.5-billion, came in at four times its estimate. Refurbishments likewise run up the bills, as seen in the two Bruce reactors at Lake Huron. In 2005, the estimate was $2.75-billion. Today, the refurbishment is already three years behind schedule and $2-billion over budget. No one would be surprised to see the $33-billion estimate balloon to $99-billion or more by the time the plan is complete.
Amazingly, the nuclear boondoggle may not represent the biggest blowout. Where the original alternative energy contracts with private power producers cost $6-billion, the new round of alternate energy projects envisaged in the Long-Term Plan cost more like $27-billion — or more like $45-billion once the supporting infrastructure for these alternative projects is factored in. This $45-billion,like the $33-billion estimate for nuclear power, may itself be a gross underestimate, partly because the supporting infrastructure is subject to cost overruns, partly because the bulk of the new alternative energy projects — unreliable wind and solar — are likely to require expensive backups to avoid blackouts.
All told, the province plans to spend $87-billion on a 20-year plan that will bring Ontario a system highly dependent on nuclear, wind and solar, all of which have a track record of being unreliable and all of which, by the government’s own reckoning, will contribute to much higher power rates in future.
Is the investment sound on non-energy grounds? Ontario’s Long-Term Plan touts jobs.
“Ontario’s landmark Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009 is projected over three years to support over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs,” it claims, without foundation. Germany’s green energy plan, on which Ontario’s is based, has been deemed a job killer, according to Economic impacts from the promotion of renewable energies: The German experience, a blue-ribbon German report released last year.
“While employment projections in the renewable sector convey seemingly impressive prospects for gross job growth, they typically obscure the broader implications for economic welfare by omitting any accounting of offsetting impacts. These impacts include, but are not limited to, job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers’ overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.
“Proponents of renewable energies often regard the requirement for more workers to produce a given amount of energy as a benefit, failing to recognize that this lowers the output potential of the economy and is hence counterproductive to net job creation. Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred. Trade [benefits] — and other assumptions in those studies claiming positive employment — turn out to be unsupportable.”
Other studies in other single-mindedly green jurisdictions concur. In fact, the evidence has become so compelling that the Ontario government’s own Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress, in a study released just this week, concludes: “While the [Green Energy Act] may create 50,000 new jobs, the higher energy costs may result in employment losses elsewhere in the economy, particularly in industries that are intensive energy users.”
The Ontario government’s Long-Term Plan endorses the decision to scrap the privatization of Ontario Hydro in favour of its publicly owned successors, which it sees as engines of the economy. Yet with those successors, Ontario lost its status as Canada’s economic leader. Since 2000, the province’s real per-capita GDP declined by 8%, the country’s worst economic performance. No longer does Ontario boast Canada’s highest real per-capita GDP next to resource-rich Alberta; Ontario is now fourth highest, and a recipient of equalization payments.
It isn’t too late to turn things around. Just bury the long-term plan, none of which passes muster, and resurrect the privatization of the power system. Power rates would drop and Ontario’s economy would soar.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.
Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/11/26/lawrence-solomon-an-87-billion-grave/#ixzz16VENebuq
Thursday, November 25, 2010
There seems to be no end to the creative ways Ontario's Liberal government can find to shoot itself in the foot.
The latest: Not only are hydro rates going to double again over the next 20 years -- after nearly doubling over the past seven -- you're going to like it, the province announced Tuesday as it unveiled its long-term energy plans.
The higher rates are needed to pay for the $87 billion they're going to shovel into nuclear power generation and "green" energy from solar and wind generation.
The Liberals say the investment will create 50,000 new jobs, many of them temporary, many of them in Windsor.
They were mum on how many permanent manufacturing jobs will likely disappear due to the higher cost of producing steel and building cars in Ontario.
Bizarrely, they seemed to rub consumers' noses in the coming pain. Not only are you going to like the next round of hikes, you are even "willing to fight" for the right to pay higher rates, Energy Minister Brad Duguid said in a sound clip that will probably come back to haunt the party in the election next fall.
Who told them Ontarians are willing to "fight" for higher hydro rates? Probably a bunch of well-heeled and high-minded activists plucked off the streets of downtown Toronto for focus groups they tested the message on.
Anybody in Windsor or London or Cambridge or the other high unemployment cities could have told them it was a bad idea to essentially taunt consumers about the rate pain to come.
But it is doubtful this tone-deaf government would have listened or even understood the nature of the public mood even if they had heard.
I've always been of the mind that it's a good idea to pay top public officials well, to get good help in government.
But this is one of the downsides of paying a cabinet minister $165,851.04 per year, not including expenses or the cost of the chauffeured limo.
It probably isn't a big deal to the $165K club to hear the family hydro bill is going to double. So they don't think the rest of us will mind, either. Wrong.
It's a safe bet that Duguid and the rest of the Dalton McGuinty government are about to find out just how depressing that spectre is to the Ontario outside the sycophantic bubble surrounding Queen's Park.
Three groups are going to go nuts on them in the weeks to come, starting with the one million or more citizens who live in households crippled by unemployment.
Next will be the millions more living from paycheque to paycheque.
And finally, they're probably going to hear an angry word or two about the rate hikes from the still-bruised survivors of the manufacturing industries. So says Pete Mateja, co-director of the Office of Automotive and Vehicle Research at the University of Windsor.
"It's bad enough right now with the exchange rate -manufacturers are getting hammered," Mateja, a veteran of the automotive and steel industries, said Wednesday.
"Anybody in steel or aluminum or plastic injection moulding -anything with a furnace or a press running -is going to hurt" from higher hydro rates, says Mateja. "It's going to be really tough for them to compete."
Ontario's steel industry could be devastated by the hikes, along with auto parts producers which consume energy, says Mateja, who was once a vice-president of Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie.
"It's just staggering what even a small increase of one per cent does to their bottom lines," he said. "It's just another thing that's going to make us less competitive. It's going to have an impact on jobs" -both existing jobs, and the new ones we hope to create. "If you were looking to invest in North America, would you come to Ontario now?"
What's left of our shrinking middle class is going to hurt more, too. You may have heard some of the moaning in recent weeks about summer hydro bills topping $500 per month for the first time, either because of the cost of air conditioning or running a swimming pool.
You know what's going to happen to those luxuries once the bills hit $1,000 -not to mention the burgeoning electric car industry. Why buy one if gasoline is cheaper?
The better question is why the McGuinty government thinks voters want to create a relative handful of green jobs if the cost of doing so is losing their own.
Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/Chris+Vander+Doelen+Power+hikes+will+jobs/3881812/story.html#ixzz16JIKQ1HC
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
By Susan Taylor
(Reuters) – The Canadian province of Ontario is expected to reduce the rich rates it pays for green energy next year, but the government will introduce changes in a way that continues to support investment in clean power sources, the minister of energy told Reuters on Wednesday.
“I think most in the industry would expect that the rates will likely go down, but we’re confident we’ll do that in a way that maintains confidence in the investment climate in Ontario,” Brad Duguid said in an interview.
Canada’s most populous province launched an incentive program for renewable energy producers last year, aiming to create jobs and eliminate coal-fired power generators.
On Tuesday it expanded on its green energy program by outlining a 20-year plan that will emphasize nuclear power, renewable energy, and conservation, but will also see a doubling of electricity rates over that period.
Feed-in tariffs introduced in October 2009 offer above-market prices to producers of energy from renewable sources like the sun and wind. They are the richest and most comprehensive in North America and follow similar programs in Europe.
It is expected that any rate changes would be discussed and made in consultation with an industry group, similar to a group formed this summer when the province said it wanted to cut the rate for small ground-mounted solar projects, Duguid’s spokesman said.
Tariff rates are reviewed every two years by the province, a process that starts in 2011 and will conclude by the autumn, Duguid said.
Japan complained to the World Trade Organization in September that Ontario’s Green Energy Act and its local procurement requirements represent a “prohibited subsidy.”
Duguid said WTO talks are currently under way, so he could not comment on progress or provide any details.
NUCLEAR “CLOUDS TO CLEAR”
Under the 20-year plan announced on Tuesday, Ontario committed C$87 billion ($86.1 billion) to meet its future energy needs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
It plans to buy two nuclear reactors and refurbish 10 others, while investing in new wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass power. Coal power will be eliminated by 2014.
Critics say Ontario is significantly underestimating nuclear expansion costs, throwing into doubt the province’s forecast of a 3.5 percent annual electricity rate increase over the next 20 years.
The federal government’s plan to sell its troubled nuclear technology agency, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, from which Ontario planned to buy the two reactors, raises further questions.
“There’s no question that the federal government’s decision to put AECL up for sale was problematic for us in the middle of our procurement process,” said Duguid.
“We’re eagerly awaiting for the clouds to clear around AECL. We expect that will be soon, and when that takes place we will determine where we go from there in our efforts to purchase two new units, and ensure that we do so at a fair price.”
The province will spend about C$33 billion on nuclear power, which represents the “best possible estimates” currently available, Duguid said.
Nuclear power will continue to make up around half the province’s power supply, while renewable energy sources will increase to about 13 percent in 2018 from 3 percent today.
“The 10,700 megawatts of renewable energy that we plan to have online by 2018 is a target; we could ultimately end up with more,” Duguid said.
RW: 10,700 is 2.5 times the number for 15% by 2030. Something doesn't add up with his numbers. See: http://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/how-many-wind-turbines/ Assuming the bulk of this is from wind, we would need to build more than 60,000 of them in the next 20 years. Yeah, right...
TCF’s study was released on Tuesday and it revealed the great impact the Green Act would have upon Canada’s economy and labor force. It seems that the costs for shifting to green electricity have been underestimated, while the new jobs that would appear would not compensate for the losses. Ontario Liberals calculated the benefits of creating 50,000 new jobs in the green energy market, but the study revealed the side effects of this action: higher energy prices are very much likely to disintegrate as many jobs as produced and even more.
Furthermore, energy-intensive industries would be widely affected, industrial colossi in manufacturing and agriculture corporations as well.
Experts in UK state that the Green Energy Act will lead to higher electric bills for average consumers and companies, bringing between $247 and $631 more to the electric bill per household per year. The Liberals aimed to conduct a 10 percent deduction for the hydro bills, but these reductions would be ineffective, as costs would meet an increase of 6.7 percent to 8.0 percent yearly.
Liberals’ good intentions to become “green” and contribute to planet’s health are cut down by the potential economic changes and analysts believe that the economic climate in Canada would be jeopardized.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Ontario's government is overstating the benefits of its Green Energy Act, according to a new report on economic competitiveness to be released today.
The report, by the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress, points out that rising electricity costs could nullify some of the 50,000 new jobs the Liberals claim will be created.
The prediction is based on some stunning price estimates that go much further than the government's own projections of hydro rate increases.
The task force notes a study of the Ontario green energy program by London Economics International, a global consultancy which estimated the Act's cost at between $247 and $631 per household per year, or the equivalent of two to six additional monthly electrical bills per year.
The task force report also cites a study by Aegent Energy Advisors Inc., an energy consulting group, which estimated recently that partly because of GEA-related expenses, residential electricity costs are expected to increase at an annual rate of between 6.7 to eight per cent over the next five years.
The government has said the program would lead to a more modest one-per-cent annual increase -- or $15 per year.
The predicted job creation impact is also based, the report says, on what happened in Germany, which has implemented a similar green energy program that initially saw job increases that were eventually eroded by rising power prices.
"I think the province would be wise to have a fresh look at this and really ask themselves is this the best way to go," says Jim Milway, executive director for the Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity, the task force's government-funded research arm. "I'd strongly reconsider it before we get too far wedded to this."
Milway says impact on rates "will probably be higher than what the government says."
The task force, created by the Ontario government in 2001 to recommend strategies to bolster long-term wealth, also casts doubt on the job creation from the act.
"While the GEA may create 50,000 new jobs, the higher energy costs may result in employment losses elsewhere in the economy, particularly in industries that are intensive energy users," the report states.
The Green Energy Act offers huge 20-year guaranteed contracts for wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy projects at rates up to 20 times more generous than the current market price for electricity. The legislation was seen as a way to kickstart a home-grown green energy industry, but has lately become the focus of consumer anger as its costs begin to show up on home electricity bills.
Those bills have risen 20 per cent in the past seven months.
In the past week, the government has moved to mitigate the mounting political damage, introducing a $1.1-billion hydro subsidy on Thursday and hinting Sunday it will expand off-peak pricing by two hours each weeknight, moving the start to 7 p.m. from its current 9 p.m.
A major report to be released by the energy minister today is also expected to set limits on the amount of green energy contracts being awarded.
The task force report, meanwhile, also points to continued troubles with productivity in Ontario's economy.
Ontario ranks 14th of 16 equivalent-sized North American states and provinces. It is trailed only by Michigan and Quebec.
"Ontarians are among the leaders in developed economies in work effort, hours worked per person, but we are laggards in creating economic value per hour worked," says Roger Martin, chair of the task force. Martin is also the dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
The shortfall in productivity is the result of numerous factors. Ontario businesses invest less in research and development, produce fewer patents and its managers are still not as good as those in comparable U.S. jurisdictions. Ontario workers also have less university education, are less urbanized and our businesses invest less in technology.
Its authors praise recent tax changes made by the McGuinty Liberals, including the imposition of the harmonized sales tax (HST), a lowering of corporate tax rates and the elimination of Ontario's capital tax.
But they also criticize other policies.
The institute bemoans the government's focus on hard sciences and invention rather than innovation, which could be nurtured through investments in business programs that develop good managers.
The task force report has in the past been highly influential on Liberal policy, and is in part credited with pushing Ontario into enacting its harmonized sales tax.
Other recent policy measures, including the $30 million investment in university scholarships for foreign students, have roots in task force recommendations.
The group is now pushing for an Ontario carbon tax similar to B.C.'s.
Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Benefits+Green+Energy+exaggerated+report+says/3869835/story.html#ixzz1684CueLR
I saw your blog and I thought you might be interested in my story. We bought a rural home 2 years ago..It is 2200 SQ FT. We are on electric heat, but even so, I think our bills would SHOCK YOU!!!! We paid $8900 last fiscal year in Hydro.. That is not a misprint. During the winter bills of over $1000 were common, with Hydro bills stating we had used 10,000 + KW/h per month. Even in the summer, with no air conditioning running and only running the neccesities, our bills were in the $400 range!!! And that's just running the lights and normal household items. I had contacted hydro one and was told everything was running fine. I have never heard or seen anyone stories of residential owners paying that high, even after speaking to several other people on electric heat. These amounts are unheard of and to this date we have no idea what is the cause, but needless to say, Hydro One is pricing me out of my home.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The Ontario Electricity Coalition is on the record, many times, warning Ontarians what would happen under the deregulation and privatization of hydro. The real reason for hydro bill shock is the addition of profits to generators, profits to distributors, profits to retailers, dividends to investors, commissions to commodities brokers and smart meter charges. The creation of the Ontario Energy Board, the Ontario Power Authority, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and all those monster salaries is also to blame. Smart meters and time of use pricing is just a cover for a massive rate hike and is the means to funnel profits into all these organizations.
Tim Hudak’s Conservative party brought in deregulation and privatization under Mike Harris. McGuinty’s Liberals kept most of the Conservatives’ legislation and only closed the retail market. The IESO is a phony market that was designed by Enron and their friends. That’s right, Enron was the main player that sat on the market design committee in the ’90s. In the election of 2003, McGuinty stole the main campaign plank from the NDP and promised “public power.” Not a word from the NDP about that. And the NDP’s call for the elimination of the HST does nothing about the root cause of “double” rates.
It’s important to note that in 1906, the Conservative Sir Adam Beck, backed by business interests who were being gouged (like today), won the battle for non-profit power. For almost 100 years public power in Ontario meant “at cost” and “not for profit.”
Paul Kahnert, former spokesperson, Ontario Electricity Coalition
RW, we definitely must return to the model that worked for 100 years, not for profit at cost power for all Ontario.
You have all seen his commercials about the high costs of energy, and demanding that the government take the HST off of heating bills.
You also saw him fuming the other day because the Canadian Senate Conservatives killed his private members bill on the environment.
And there in lies his hypocrisy.
The day his bill was killed he appeared on CTV's Power Play. He explained that the bill he presented was to cut CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. When the show's host asked him if that would increase people's costs for energy, he firmly agreed it would, by a lot.
So, excuse me Jack. How the hell can you stand on TV and be so concerned about people's energy bills that need to come down but your own environment bill would radically increase the costs of energy!!!
Don't be fooled by the NDP, their goal is to introduce a carbon tax on everything to "save the planet" from runaway global warming. That quest will increase your energy bills, is why your energy bills are forcing everyone into energy poverty, and forcing wealth creating jobs to leave province.
Includes a copy and paste letter to the Government
The Hon. Brad Duguid, Minister of Energy and
The Hon. Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A4
URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL
COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY ON OUR HYDRO BILLS:
We believe the government’s energy policy is flawed, unfeasible, and detrimental to our well being and the Ontario economy. We cannot accept the change from power at cost which was the HEPC and Ontario Hydro mandate, to power for profit. We resent being required to subsidize so-called “green energy” through our hydro rates– especially when there is no evidence that industrial wind turbine developments are either environmentally friendly or save CO2 emissions.
We are unwilling to pay for additional gas electricity production to back up wind and solar. We object to paying twice for the electricity we consume. We demand that the extravagant feed-in-tariffs, and tax exemptions for renewables producers which we view as corporate welfare, be curtailed at once. We require that all further commercial renewable energy project approvals be suspended immediately until realistic regulations are in place to protect our natural heritage and credible, unbiased health studies have been completed to safeguard rural Ontario.
Please reply to this letter at once, advising of your proposed remedy.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
“The Ontario government and the OPA would find themselves in a class-action lawsuit brought by every manufacturer that has spent the money to come to the province and open up a manufacturing facility,” Mr. Webb said.
We must not be blackmailed into keeping their business alive and kill the rest of the Province. They want to sue, let them sue McGuinty and the Liberals.
Clean, reliable power costs money
The following is excerpted from the economic statement delivered in the Ontario Legislature Thursday by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan:
Governments of every political stripe in this province failed to make crucial investments in electricity supply and transmission.
By 2003, people did not know if the lights would stay on.
Back then, about 25 per cent of Ontario’s electricity came from dirty coal.
In 2003, there was no plan for conservation, no plan for supply to keep up with demand. In 2003, the wires that bring power to homes were in critical disrepair.
At that time, while demand was going up, the electricity system lost 1,800 megawatts of power capacity. That’s the equivalent of Niagara Falls running dry.
Moreover, in 2003, Ontario had to import U.S. coal-fired electricity just to keep the lights on.
The government of the day even had to set up emergency generators for fear of brownouts.
A brief market-deregulation experiment in 2002 saw electricity prices spike an average of over 30 per cent over seven months.
Clean reliable electricity should be part of our everyday lives — there’s no compromise on clean air and reliable power.
In 2003, Ontario needed action and this government took action.
With the changes we’ve made, we’ve built enough new cleaner generation to power some 2 million homes — about a fifth of that is from renewables like wind and solar.
With the changes we’ve made, there are 5,000 kilometres of improved transmission lines.
With the changes we’ve made, conservation programs are back and can save families money.
We’re on track to close Ontario’s dirty coal plants — the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road.
All of this is making Ontario a leader in clean energy. It means new investment in Ontario and new jobs. . . .
Clean energy manufacturing plants are opening in communities like Guelph and Windsor to serve the Ontario market and to export made-in-Ontario solar panels and wind turbines.
The previous government gave us dirty coal. We are eliminating coal entirely and cleaning our air.
They left us with 10 wind turbines. We brought in 700.
These investments cost money.
We had to invest. These were necessary, unavoidable costs.
We are all paying for decades of neglect by governments of all political stripes.
Around the world, residential and business consumers are feeling the impact of electricity prices.
And, if people tell you they can deliver clean reliable electricity at a lower price, don’t believe them.
RW, again note the comments. No one is getting fooled. Rumour has it that some Liberals will not be seeking re-election.
The Ontario government’s clever Ontario Clean Energy Benefit – a 10% rebate on the rapidly escalating power bills of Ontario voters — is a win-win-win proposition. A win for the Liberal government, which needs to blunt a consumer revolt before next year’s election. A win for the power companies it owns, which now have a go-ahead to continue to escalate their rates. And a win for renewable energy suppliers and their environmental group allies, who had feared that the Ontario government would curb the lavish solar and wind contracts that have been clobbering consumers.
The rebate scheme – which is sure to dampen public revulsion at the way the power system is being managed — is especially impressive in how expertly the government has disguised its activities. To read the press reports, the government is deftly rejigging its provincial borrowing and fast-forwarding revenues from a long-term land registry contract to finance the rebate during a five year transition period to a cleaner energy infrastructure. Sweep aside these sleight-of-hand explanations and the reality is much simpler: The provincial government is in reality providing voters with a five-year break on their HST while rapidly escalating the power prices that all consumers face. Because the province and the municipalities overwhelmingly own the power system, they are making off like bandits as power consumers get squeezed.
Under the old Ontario Hydro monopoly, the provincial power system was run on a non-profit basis. While the absence of a profit motive eliminated an incentive to be efficient, the system did have one virtue – the government couldn’t milk it for revenue. Under the new government-run monopoly system, the power system is run on a for-profit basis, with the profit roughly proportionate to its equity. The more expensive the system, the higher the dividends, fees and taxes that accrue to the government. Put another way, the new power system rewards inefficiency — the bigger the boondoggles, the fatter the government coffers. The new system is already quietly filling those coffers with some $2 billion a year that wasn’t available to them under the old Ontario Hydro system.
The Ontario Clean Energy Benefit is also a lose-lose-lose proposition. Two losers are the opposition NDP and Conservatives, who had called for the Liberals to reverse their position and exempt power sales from the HST. Had the Liberals reversed the HST explicitly, they would have seemed weak and desperate, giving their political opponents a club to beat them with while forever losing a large source of tax revenue. Instead, the Liberals bested their opponents by calling their HST bid, which was worth 8%, and raising it to 10% under a different name. The political opponents came across as pikers and the Liberals as heroes for the day.
Large industrial electricity consumers are also losers. Because these companies don’t vote, the Liberals would have drawn no political benefit in applying Ontario Clean Energy Benefit to them. To the contrary, by collecting the HST from them, the Liberals are obtaining the cash they need to top up the rebate from 8% to 10%. In effect, the Liberal government is merely transferring the HST rebate that the large industrial consumers aren’t getting to the pot of money going to the smaller consumers that can vote – residential consumers, small businessmen, and farmers.
Of course, under the Ontario scheme, all consumers become losers. Rates, by the government’s own accounting, will be climbing another 46% over the next five years, and then rates will jolt up another 10% as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit expires. By then, the new power system may also have expired. It took Ontario Hydro, running as a government-owned non-profit, 90 years to go bankrupt. Hydro’s government-owned for-profit successors will be far quicker at reaching bankruptcy.
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.
Friday, November 19, 2010
If the provincial government has $1 billion available, is an across-the-board cut in everyone’s electricity bill the best way to spend it? Probably not.
Yet that is what Finance Minister Dwight Duncan offered up in the Legislature Thursday in his annual fall economic statement. “Every little bit helps,” said Duncan, as he announced a 10 per cent cut in electricity bills for the next five years, at a cost of more than $1 billion a year to the provincial treasury.
Also in the statement were a $1 billion windfall from the extension of the Teranet deal and legislation to regulate trading in derivatives. But the new electricity subsidy was clearly the highlight of the day.
This comes after the government has been insisting for months that Ontarians, having been sheltered by a succession of “irresponsible” governments that kept hydro rates artificially low, need to face up to the reality that electricity isn’t cheap.
“We know that there are costs associated with investing heavily in the modernization of our electricity system,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty just a few weeks ago. “But it’s a plan that we absolutely need to move forward with so we have the reliability.”
Apparently the government decided that this message was being swamped by public anger over rising electricity bills, so it opted to spend borrowed billions to hold prices down.
The opposition parties bear much of the blame for this. For months, they have been whipping up hysteria about electricity bills, while offering no credible solutions of their own for addressing Ontario’s energy problems. They were still at it Thursday, with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath saying the hike in electricity bills was “off the Richter scale.”
As for the Liberal government, it might have considered spending $1 billion-plus annually on restoring the cuts in funding for transit expansion in the Greater Toronto Area or on advancing its plans to reduce poverty. Both measures would have made more sense than giving the rich, poor and everyone in between an average $153.60 break in their annual electricity bills. But there wouldn’t have been the same political bang for the buck.
The Star is clearly out of touch with reality. Check out the comments too.
And hydro ratepayers will see their bills jump about 3.6% annually over the same period.
Finance Minister Dwight Duncan released the bad news in the government’s fall fiscal outlook Thursday.
The rate hike suggests an average household could pay an additional $50 in the first year alone with the bill going up every year.
“Any politician who suggests, implies or tries to tell people that the price of electricity is going to go down over the next five years is simply not telling the truth,” Duncan said. “Every kilowatt of new electricity is more expensive than the last.”
The government will bring in the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on Jan. 1, giving a 10% break to households, small businesses and farmers but that will be more than offset by an expected 46% increase in the cost of hydro over the next five years.
All homeowners, including those who purchased energy price plans, are eligible for an average saving of about $150 a year from the benefit.
Businesses that use 250,000 kWh a year or less will see a reduction of $1,716 a year, and farms would save about $2,052 a year, the government estimates.
The savings should appear on hydro bills no later than May, and will be retroactive to the start of the year.
The government does not expect to be back in the black until 2017-18, meaning the OCEB will be paid for with borrowed money.
More than half the rising cost of electricity is due to new “clean green” energy such as wind, solar and water.
“Is it worth $3 billion a year in health costs to keep coal fired generating going?” Duncan said, when questioned about the expense.
Duncan’s economic statement revealed the Ontario deficit this year will be $18.7 billion but that is lower than projected in the spring budget.
Personal income taxes were down an astonishing $1.13 billion over what had been expected.
Countering that drop were rises in other tax revenues — the health premium ($151 million), tobacco ($166 million), corporations ($696 million), sales ($326 million) and education property ($382 million).
The government also fast-forwarded a contract with Teranet — responsible for the province’s electronic land registry — to bring in an additional $1 billion in revenue.
The government says it has recovered 75% of the jobs it had lost by May 2009, or over 180,000 positions.
The government credited a stronger-than-expected economy for the boost in HST revenues of $326 million.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said the McGuinty government has brought in the largest tax hikes and deficits in the province’s history.
Hudak called the government’s attempt to freeze the salaries of employees in the broader public sector a failure.
And after bringing in the harmonized sales tax and letting hydro rates increase 75% since coming into office, McGuinty’s OCEB doesn’t add up to big savings for Ontarians, he said.
“Just a year out from an election campaign, he decides to give a mere fraction of it back,” Hudak said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who led her party’s campaign to remove the HST permanently from the hydro bills, said she remembers when the McGuinty Liberals promised pre-election in 2003 to freeze hydro rates for five years.
“What happened to that?” she said.
Horwath said the hydro benefit is not a serious attempt to help families with their budgets, but rather a political move to smooth things over with the voters until the next election in 2011.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said in the Legislature that Ontarians will view this break as “good news” in economically challenging times.
Ontarians will also understand that the economic difficulties began outside the province with a world-wide recession, and that his government’s stimulus spending has built bridges and roads, schools, court houses and hospitals across the province while creating 300,000 jobs.
RW, the "Ontario Clean Energy Benefit" should be aply named "Ontario Clean Energy BRIBE".