Saturday, February 26, 2011

An open letter to MPPs Michael Gravelle, Bill Mauro, Premier Dalton McGuinty

Where do I start?

It is obvious that your government has lost its way when it comes to Ontario energy policies. The sudden cancellation of future wind turbines due to unknown potential health affects, the moratorium on the grossly generous FIT program, and now the approval by the Ontario Energy Board of rate hikes to compensate for interest rate over-charging by OPG/Hydro One clearly shows that your party is lost when it comes to the realities of this so-called green energy plan.

Regarding the wind turbines, how is it that the setback for off-shore turbines is five kilometres, yet on-shore setbacks are 550 meters? Why is it that we’re afraid to put these turbines too close to shorelines, but we’re OK with putting them in people’s back yards? This makes absolutely no sense.

Because of your government’s zeal to push it’s green energy plan, the City of Thunder Bay has invested a huge amount of time and money into wind farms in and around the city, and now must deal with a multi-million dollar lawsuit because it tried to create a balance between the Liberals’ insistence on this agenda and its own citizens.

We are yet to learn how much more it is going to cost once projects that have already had the green light get cancelled and even more lawsuits begin.

Whether the municipality or the provincial government pays for this mess, the bottom line is we, the taxpayers, are going to be on the hook for it.

As for the FIT program whereby solar and other green energy off-grid power systems are set up by average citizens and businesses on their own lands and at their own cost, this too has become a red herring. It was obvious right from the get-go that the guaranteed price rate for feed-in excess power was exorbitant and not cost effective. Yes, you have reduced the guaranteed rate, but at the expense of those who have already invested serious money in good faith, and I fear, at the expense of power-using customers and Ontario taxpayers as a flurry of class-action lawsuits start.

Now, the Ontario Energy Board has approved yet another rate increase on top of the upcoming 46-per-cent rate hike already predicted over the next five years, because OPG/Hydro One made yet another mistake by over-charging interest rates on delinquent accounts. Those who use the services are now expected to pay for the $18-million penalty. It is obvious the OEB has this delusional expectation that regardless of circumstances, costs will be passed on to end users and/or taxpayers. End of story.

I have a suggestion. Why doesn’t the OEB pull its pompous, out-of-touch head out of its butt and tell OPG/Hydro One to recoup those costs through efficiencies within their operations? The private sector has been forced to do that over the last couple of years because they simply could not continue to pass on their costs to their customers. The OEB, as do all government-regulated boards, has to come to the realization that the days of “cost-plus” are gone.

With these and other past mistakes, it is clear that publicly-held and -controlled entities cannot manage nor control costs effectively. With that realization, perhaps it is time to seriously look at privatizing OPG/Hydro One. Obviously, there will be those who will suggest that doing so will lead to even higher costs. But given that such entities as TBayTel have generated revenues for the city and have managed well in a fiercely competitive market, I see no reason why OPG/Hydro One couldn’t follow that same model.

People of Thunder Bay and Ontario should be mad as hell over this debacle created by your government, and rightly so. I know I am. I am a believer that we must make the move to greener, more efficient practices, but the transition must be done over many years, not by tomorrow, and not at any cost.

Len Day, Thunder Bay

13 comments:

  1. LOUD APPLAUSE AND STANDING OVATION FROM ATWOOD. It could not have been said any better and I for one toally agree with your letter. Sign my name to it and I am behind you 100% Keep up the great work. There is strength in numbers but it only takes one voice.......to make a difference

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree too. Where is a legal petition?

    We have to oust these Bottom Feeders once and for all. We have to DEMAND a total hydro overhaul & jail time. As for McGuinty, there should be a law where we can put him in jail for the misappropriation of tax payers monies!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whoa, this is either seriously misleading, or seriously disingenuous:

    Yes, you have reduced the guaranteed rate, but at the expense of those who have already invested serious money in good faith."

    Uhhh, what? People who installed systems and signed contracts get the rate they agreed to. Period. The only people who were effected by the rate change were ones that installed systems *before* they had an offer. I grieve with them, but that's what's called "risk/reward". They're still making more money than a GIC.

    And this statement is obviously false:

    "It was obvious right from the get-go that the guaranteed price rate for feed-in excess power was exorbitant and not cost effective. "

    Not only is it factually incorrect (it's not excess power), but the rate is about the same as the one introduced in Germany, where the program has been an astounding success. Similar programs in Italy, France and Spain all suffered not from problems with the pricing, but the fact that they couldn't meet demand.

    Look, this is the future. Gas is going to cost $2.50 a litre soon enough, and then the 1% extra microFIT adds to your monthly bill will look like the greatest deal in history.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Maury, we will see how much you like the grid when blackouts occur, and your power bills are several times today. A modern society requires plentiful, constant, cheap power available all the time, not when Nature decides. If anything, power has to be cheaper to compensate for oil price increases to give incentives to move off oil. Or do you want an economic collapse to happen?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your power bills are going up because *that's how much power actually costs*.

    Power in New York (state), which has a generation mix very similar to Ontario, is around 17.4 cents/kWh. The only reason it's lower here is because the government uses your tax dollars to offset it to the current ~13.3 cents/kWh average. And that's ignoring the billions in debt writedowns and funding of AECL.

    I believe people should pay the real rate for power. Doing anything else produces a false market, and inevitably results in bad outcomes. Look up "soviet bread pricing".

    And frankly, scare stories about blackouts and "several times" doesn't exactly help your credibility. Let's keep the hyperbole on Fox News.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Maury,

    When you say that is the actual cost, does your cost include the massive wages earned by the workers at the Hydro company?

    The huge renumeration earned by these workers are where we need to focus on to get our bills down. Until someone is willing to confront that problem we will have ever increasing bills.

    Wayne

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Maury, google "Tax Shift: Eliminating Subsidies and Moving to Full Cost Electricity Pricing". Good read for you.

    People should start looking at factual data and the true economics of the situation and not allow listen to fear mongering.

    ReplyDelete
  8. And I totally agree on the notion of false market. People are fully aware of the price they pay for electricity but many underestimate the value it seems.

    Ontario tax payers carry a heavy burden to offset the true cost of hydro to the rates we have been familiar with for so long. At one time this allowed us to be more competitive with other markets but over time this has promoted irresponsibility in electricity use and eneficiency in ontario`s industry. This is lowering our standard of living as it is the individual tax payer who gets taxed at a higher rate who ends up picking up the tab for underpriced hydro.

    Incrementally remove generation subsidization and implement full cost pricing with decreased tax rates or else subsidize the public for energy efficiency upgrade and lower income families/people to help make ends meet.

    I agree with Wayne that labour burden is too high but thats only a fraction of the equation.
    It would force Ontario Power Generation to be more efficient if the subsidies were removed.

    ReplyDelete
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