Wednesday, December 29, 2010

McGuinty has led us all down the green energy garden path

By Ross McKitrick

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 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.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Retailer's Scam

Someone posted this yesterday:

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.

Does TOU Save You Money?

To see the effects of Time Of Use for those who have smart meters doing that, you will have to compare a TOU billing to a bill from before TOU. That is, in my case, take the consumption last month and plug it into the figures for the summer. So you can do this yourself I have this template spreadsheet.

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.

Adding Solar Panels does not Increase the Value of your Home

I wanted to know, so asked my local councilor, if adding solar panels to my roof would:

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

McGuinty has us on course to be close to 27 - 30 cents a kwh by 2030

Letter - Rising Hydro Costs

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 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.

Ross Ayotte
Smiths Falls


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)
To: converd@******
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.


Usman Syed
Acting Manager, Distribution
Smart Grid, Network Policy

Lawrence Solomon: How to renege on egregious green contracts

Risk-free contracts pay up to 20 times market value

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:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hydro client loses $12,000 to billing error

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

Pull the plug on high energy prices

Tim Hudak
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

How to end FIT and not get sued

The FIT program has to end. Not only does it have to end, but the current contracts have to be changed. It's killing the economy. Better those few now who have swallowed the lure from the government than the entire economy.

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

McGuinty Attempts to Bamboozle the Public

Bright lights and clean air for Ontario

Dalton McGuinty
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


I got this email tonight:

Hello Richard,
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.

Kimberly Gale
CBC News



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, the price comparison service.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Green collapse

Across the world, unsustainable subsidies for wind and solar are being cut back. Ontario is next
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

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the future you will have less

Though Parker Gallant's post in the Financial Post was very enlighting on the blatant misrepresentation by the Government of Ontario's future power capacity, he missed an important aspect that needs to be included. The continued population increase of the province.

Population growth is 1.1% over the last 5 years. Thus adding 20 more years is a signifant increase in the population. Using that growth rate by 2030 the population could be as much as 16.5 million, up 24% from the current 13.2 million.

The current capacity per person is 35,000,000KWatts/13.2 million or 2.65 kW per person.

So using the government's numbers for the projected capacity, including "conservation", one gets 2.92kWatts per person. Sounds good, more people, more capacity, more per person too!

Except Parker's numbers tell a different story. By 2030 the ratio drops to 2.49KWatts per person, or a 7% drop from today.

It's actually worse than that because Parker used a 30% Capacity Factor for wind to drop the Government's wind capacity from 10,700MW to 3,300MW. But the Capacity Value is much less than that. 5%, or ZERO depending on how it's looked at. So removing wind altogether and we loose 3,300MW more, which brings the per person capacty down to 2.27KWatts. A drop of 17% per person of available power.

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’s Power Trip: Plug your toaster into ‘conservation’

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!

Financial Post
Parker Gallant is a retired banker who looked at his electricity bills and didn’t like what he saw.

Green turns Ontariewewans Blue

From the Ontario PC's:

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.