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".
Thursday, November 18, 2010
November 17, 2010 – 10:44 pm
Guess what, demand reduction reduces revenue
By Parker Gallant
In June, 2006, Dwight Duncan was Ontario’s Minister of Energy and about to launch a new green initiative for Ontario’s electricity sector, the Conservation Demand Management (CDM) program. The objective was to get Ontario consumers to reduce their peak demand for electricity via conservation.
In a directive to the Ontario Power Authority, he set out the specifics: “The goal for total peak demand reduction from conservation by 2025 is 6300 MW.” Effectively, Mr. Duncan ordered the OPA to push consumers to reduce peak demand by approximately 25% of the load the electricity sector might expect on the hottest July day.
The first phase of that long-range plan, from 2007 to 2010, recently ended with costs well above budget. And a new directive last week points to more of the same over the next three years. Today, Mr. Duncan’s directive and others since are set over time to cost Ontario electricity consumers as much as $2-billion in rate increases.
The burden of those costs — along with others for green energy prices, solar power, and major transmission infrastructure — is now beginning to appear on consumer bills, promoting a political backlash that the Ontario government is now trying to turn back. To counter that backlash, Mr. Duncan, now Minister of Finance, was set to announce countermeasures in an economic statement Thursday.
Initially, the demand reduction scheme brought a heavy-duty marketing campaign. David Suzuki began appearing in OPA ads urging people to get rid of their beer fridges, take power pledges to reduce consumption, throw out old air conditioners, undergo home audits. Do all this, said the ads, and consumers would save money.
But it turns out that saving money via demand reduction apparently costs a lot of money. Each corporation in the Ontario electricity chain incurred costs setting up the program. Toronto Hydro spent $60-million from 2007 to 2010. To get that money back, it sent a bill to the Ontario Power Authority. In all, across the province, the bills mounted as the promotion campaign and other costs mounted. For 2010, the OPA budgeted $286.6-million for CDM — although the OPA’s recently filed 2011 budget now estimate that they will spend $361.1-million for 2010.
But costs for promotion are only part of the cost. Toronto Hydro, Hydro 0ne and all the other electricity distributors in the Ontario system claim to have lost revenue as a result of these programs. These “deteriorated revenues,” apparently the result of conservation, are losses they are now seeking to replace via rate increases.
Toronto Hydro has applied for an 18.2% increase for 2011, or $448-million, based on 2009 revenue. Hydro One, the province-wide transmission company, has applied for a 15.7% increase, or $555-million, based on their 2009 distribution revenues.
But there’s more to come. The current Energy Minister, Brad Duguid, issued a fresh directive last March setting out the new short-term targets. Officially called “2011-2014 Net Annual Peak Demand Savings Target,” it effectively orders Ontario’s 80 local distribution companies to achieve “Peak Demand Savings” of 1,330 megawatts (MW) by 2014.
On Nov. 12, the provincial regulator issued a list of targets by agency. For Toronto Hydro, the target was 286.3 MW and for Hydro One Brampton, the target was 259.2 MW. At an average cost per kilowatt hour of 0.135¢ (based on current billing), that would be a revenue drop for these 80 mainly municipally owed utilities of $1.5-billion.
There is no way of knowing the collective distribution revenue of these distribution companies, so these are only estimates based on current numbers. But Toronto Hydro will likely seek to recover revenue of as much as $338-million in 2014, equal to a rate increase of 13% of current revenues. Hydro One will likely seek to cover lost revenue of $328-million, or 9.3% of current distribution revenue.
Those rate increases are just for the lost revenue portion of the Conservation Demand Management scheme, which come on top of the marketing costs that are still to come.
The CDM is just part of the Ontario system. Then there are the “subsidies” for solar and wind generators that will be adding up by 2014. Ontario could be looking at 35% to 40% power rate hikes on top of the average of 20% experienced this year, plus the 15% to 18% increases that Toronto Hydro and Hydro One are currently seeking.
Financial PostParker Gallant is a former Canadian banker who looked at his Ontario electricity bill and didn’t like what he saw.
Read more: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/11/17/ontarios-power-trip-the-high-cost-of-%e2%80%98conservation%e2%80%99/#ixzz15drLML3e
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I'm so frustrated right now its not even funny. In July I got a staggering Hydro bill of 1898.00. I called they said they didnt read my meter for the past year( oh how nice, so they cut the meter reader jobs out but still our prices go up), so they make a payment arrangment with me and I agree, what else can I do> so then after that my next bill comes in at 780.00, then 880, then 750.
IM FREAKING OUT!!!
my bills last year were 220.00.
SO I just keep plugging along frustrated beyond anything( my poor husband and kids, putting up with this mood I can't seem to get out of)So bottom line, I'm ready to crack. Today they send me in the mail a letter stateing that they will be charging me on my next bill a 1625.00 security deposit because " I dont have a good payment history!!!!%$#%$ how does one have a good payment history when you owe 4200.00, oh ya now it 5825???
Tell me when the protests start and I will be there. Let's get them people, It's time we Canadians stand up for our rights.
Note the comments, no one is buying this.
Monday, November 15, 2010
TORONTO - If electricity bills are up for Ontario homeowners with smart meters it might be the old meter's fault - at least that's what the Liberal government was saying Monday.
The so-called smart meters, which allow people to take advantage of time-of-use pricing for electricity, are more accurate than the 40-to-50-year-old meters they replace, said Energy Minister Brad Duguid.
"I'm not suggesting that bills haven't gone up, but there are a variety of reasons for that," said Duguid, who noted this year's hot summer meant much greater use of air conditioners than last year.
"One less common (reason) is that when you put in the new meter you find out the previous meter wasn't working and billing properly, so the new meter just is bringing bills up to date and is more accurate."
The energy minister is looking for any excuse he can find to explain away soaring electricity bills, said the New Democrats.
"Every day it's a new story from the minister," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
"The stories that I care about are the ones the people of Ontario are telling me, and that is they cannot afford the cost of hydro."
Premier Dalton McGuinty admitted Monday he hadn't heard about old hydro meters being inaccurate, but he offered a spirited defence of the government's $1-billion program to install smart meters.
"Even the United Kingdom, which is bound and determined to reduce government costs, is moving as quickly as they can to install smart meters in their homes and businesses so they can better manage their electricity system," McGuinty said at an unrelated event.
"It's something that we simply must do as we come of age as an economy that is going to responsibly manage its electricity system."
The Progressive Conservatives call smart meters tax machines and vow to give consumers the option of staying on fixed prices for electricity instead of moving to time-of-use pricing if they win next year's election.
The New Democrats accused the government of hiding the true cost of the smart meter program, noting Hydro One estimates its costs for smart meters at $1 billion - the same as the government's estimate for the whole program - and Hydro One is responsible for only one-fifth of the customers who will get the new meters.
"Something's not adding up," said Horwath.
"That's why we want the auditor general to go in and do a cost-benefit analysis because we need to know exactly what the not-so-smart meter program is costing the people of Ontario."
The smart meter program is not over budget, insisted Duguid.
"We're on budget, on time when it comes to rolling out smart meters across this province," he said.
Smart meters have been installed in over four million Ontario homes, but only about one quarter of that number have actually switched to time-of-use pricing. Early figures show they are saving money with the smart meters, added Duguid.
"The preliminary work for those that have been on (time of use pricing) for an extended period of time would show a slight decrease to date in their bills, on average," he said.
"It is a very modest impact, and on average, a small savings to the consumer."
That's not what hydro customers are telling the NDP, said Horwath, who again demanded the Liberal government remove the HST from electricity bills.
"The HST is salt in the wound to hydro costs," said Horwath. "Just take the HST off of hydro and start giving people a break."
McGuinty has already rejected the idea of removing the HST from electricity bills.
RW: Guess Duguid doesn't know about Measurements Canada, all devices have to be validated. I find it rather hard to believe that in 50 years Ontario Hydro never tested the old meters to see if they slow with age. Wanna bet there is a burried report somewhere proving they maintained their accuracy?
Friday, November 12, 2010
Then, on the Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, they showed up at my door claiming I owed ANOTHER $1500.00, which I DIDN'T pay, as I simply do not have the money to do so.The ONLY thing I was THANKFUL for was that my 10 friends who come annually for Thanksgiving couldn't make it this year. What a disaster THAT would have been.
I hope that the CEO of Hydro One enjoyed HIS Thanksgiving dinner in his warm house. I, on the other hand, ate a cold can of Pork & Beans, huddled under the blankets with my dying lab, who passed away two days later. Happy Thanksgiving. I am SO glad I live in SUCH a WONDERFUL country. UNBELIEVABLE.
Just a little background FYI: I am a University Graduate with 2 (almost 3) degrees. I had a good job making about $90,000 a year until I had to go on a medical leave, (which I am still on). At that point, I lost all my medical benefits (??? Yes- Figure THAT one out!!) and 4 YEARS later I am STILL fighting the ONTARIO TEACHERS' INSURANCE PLAN (OTIP)to try and get compensation.I have borrowed money from friends and family, because of course, if one is disabled in this country, one cannot access the equity built up in your home. So....despite the fact that I am on a medical leave and have had NO income for 4 years, Hydro continually preys on those who are struggling the most in this country- AND then adds on SECURITY DEPOSITS with their offer to reconnect after FULL payment. I find this absolutely incredible.So, am I going to have to sell my 1857 log cabin that I have worked ALL my life for because I can't afford to pay HYDRO????
What is going to happen in the next few weeks/months when the pipes freeze and burst and flood my house? I can't run a pump to pump water out. My furnace will be destroyed and who knows what else. What is my recourse then??? Can I launch a lawsuit against Hydro One to pay for all THOSE damages they CAUSE?
My other concern are my horses that arrived the week after Thanksgiving. Their arrival was planned months in advance, and now, I haven't even been ABLE to activate the electric fencing as of yet. Although I live in the country, I live near two major roads, and if my horses get out on the road and get killed (or cause deaths) because the electric fences aren't on.
THAT BLOOD WILL BE ON THEIR HANDS and THEY WILL PAY. There is absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY that I can use this much hydro (roughly $500.00/month). I live alone. I use ONE light, my laptop and a 13" tv in my bedroom. I shower once a week. I have a propane furnace and stove. My Energy Star fridge is brand new. My washer and dryer are brand new EnergyStar products as well, but I NEVER use a dryer- summer or winter.
This past summer, I ran two fans, a small window air conditioner(new) and a dehumidifier in the basement. I know people who are running hot tubs, pools, and have barns, and their bills are less than half of mine. I know people with teenagers who have daily showers and use a multitude of small appliances as well as computers, stereos, gaming systems, blow dryers, and do laundry on a daily basis, and their bills are less than half of mine as well. So what's wrong with this picture?
I received a letter from Hydro One a few months ago, regarding 'stray voltage' on farms. They were ORDERED to write this letter by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to inform farmers about this problem. While the focus of the letter is how the stray voltage can produce electrical shocks that affect livestock, I contend that it must ALSO affect the SMART METERS in some way.
Their fact sheet states, "Poor or faulty farm wiring, improper grounding, unbalanced farm system loading, defective equipment or VOLTAGES FROM TELEPHONE LINES OR GAS PIPELINES ARE ALL POSSIBLE SOURCES OF STRAY VOLTAGE."I have BOTH of these types of lines running right beside my Hydro Line and past the SMART METER, so perhaps THAT is what is causing the problems with the meter. I don't know, I'm not an electrician. But just TRY and get someone from Hydro to address these problems....it is HOPELESS.
I guess I should consider myself 'lucky', as I have another building on my property that has a separate Hydro meter, and thus, a separate account.
When the hydro in the house was cut off, I ran two electrical cords over to my house.
Here is a summary of what I am currently running in my shop:
-a small (new) freezer
-one extension cord that I plugged in to my pellet stove so that I am able to have heat in one room.
(The last few days, since we have had snow, I have let the pellet stove run all day/night on low.)
- the second extension cord I use to power my laptop, cellphone charger, router/modem and one light in my bedroom. -occasionally, I will plug the tv in for an hour to watch the news, or plug the vacuum in
- two small 'fridges' in the shop (one is actually a little wine cooler, but I have been using it as a fridge, and the other is an old mini bar-fridge).
This is the list of what is drawing power on the shop meter, and over a ONE WEEK PERIOD I used a total of 47 kWh.
In my house, Hydro tells me I use over 55 kWh A DAY, to which I say there is NO POSSIBLE WAY. If I am using this amount of electricity in a month, how can ANYONE in this province survive, because they must be paying $2000-$3000 A MONTH considering the appliances, lights, hot water etc. that they use.
This just doesn't make sense but Hydro constantly tries to turn it around and say YOU are at fault- not any of THEIR equipment or methods of reading data.) Again I have to ask:
WHY ARE WE CANADIANS SO COMPLACENT AND ALLOWING HYDRO TO GET AWAY WITH THIS??????? I think one possible answer is that people are tired of trying to fight this battle with Goliath on their own, and I am SO glad that I discovered your website. I will be sending it to each and every person in my Contacts list, as well as every SINGLE MP AND MPP. Maybe if they start reading some of these comments they will see the impact that Hydro is having on Canadians- the CONSTITUENTS THAT VOTED THEM IN...and can just as easily vote them out.
I for one, am SO, SO, SO tired of continually fighting with Hydro and getting nowhere. I feel I am alone on the battlefield, and to be honest, with the lawsuit against the Insurance company in progress, as well as my illness, I don't have the physical or mental strength to continually fight.
One very rude Hydro One manager said to me, "I don't know what your problem is. That is an average bill for an average family." I told her that, "No, that ISN'T what an average family is paying for hydro and more importantly, I am not an 'average family'. I am ONE person."
The government and our representatives really DON'T care what is going on in this province, as evidenced by the meeting I attempted to set up with my MPP regarding a number of issues, one being Hydro. His 'assistant' was running interference however, and wouldn't even let me schedule an appointment with him. When I explained the dilemma I was having with hydro, her comment was as follows:"Perhaps you need to go to Credit Counselling so they can help you with some bills." (yes, unbelievable, I know). No. I DON'T need Credit Counselling. What I DO need is a RESPONSIBLE government that will reign these vultures in, stop this madness and return Ontario to it's once prosperous state, rather than a 'have-not' province that is resembling a third-world country. (Actually, I have lived in a third-world country, and had a better standard of living as well as better utility services, for about an eighth of the cost of what I pay here.)
I am ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED that Hydro is allowed to do whatever they please, charging exorbitant prices, gouging hard-working Canadians, while wreaking havoc on households by cutting off power. And all the while, they are walking away with multi-million dollar wages and ever-increasing profits.
WHY ARE WE PUTTING UP WITH THIS????
This HAS to END.PERIOD.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Sincerely, Patti Tufford
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Toronto Hydro and an Ongoing Dispute
I find it incredibly ridiculous that after 8 1/2 months, I actually have to post this online in an effort to get Toronto Hydro to actually respond to an issue that I discovered in January. Since the initial phone call in late January, I have been brushed off by Toronto Hydro in trying to settle a billing dispute and have had to take many steps to try and rectify the situation. At this point absolutely nothing has worked. By posting on my blog, on Facebook, and on Youtube, perhaps I can spur them into acting on my complaint.
In late January, we received our hydro bill for the November-December billing period. The bill is in my brother's name and we have both been trying to solve this since January. It was apparent right from that point that there was some kind of mistake as the consumption for the billing period was incredibly high, and the bill itself was almost 200.00 over our average bill. I immediately phoned Toronto Hydro and from that point on we were given excuse after excuse as to why the bill was so high. (Another point to note is that the next billing period went back down to our average consumption level. This also indicated to me that there was a problem.)
Here are the numbers. Our average consumption was anywhere between 1100 and 1300 kwh for the last 24 billing periods. For this period however the consumption was indicated as being 2176 kwh. That is more than a 60% increase over our average. Our highest consumption in the last 24 months was only 1657 kwh, when we had a another family member staying with us who worked shift work. The consumption indicated on the January bill was 30 % above that. So, 60 % above our average consumption, and over 30% above our highest ever consumption was an indication that there was something wrong. I was referred to the usage tracking website. That site was useless. It showed me the usage sure, but that was based on the information from the meter. I can't verify it, I don't read the meter, and it is not like I actually see the hydro as I consume it.
Right from the onset, we were given excuse after excuse as to why our bill was so high. We were told that we had had a smart meter installed in October, and that the bill could absolutely not be wrong. The several assumptions were made that had to be corrected right away.
First it was suggested that it was our actual energy provider that we had to deal with because Toronto Hydro had no clue as to what we were being charged. This is ridiculous. The way the system works in Toronto, is that if you are not a Toronto Hydro consumer you are FORCED to deal with them as they do the billing for your actual energy provider. To suggest that they have no idea what we were being charged is ridiculous. They prepare the bills.
Second we were told that it was because the billing period was for November and December and that the consumption rate was higher because our furnace would have been on during those two months. Immediately it was pointed out to them that our heat is provided by the landlord in our building, and that it on a separate meter and our landlord is responsible for that.
Finally, and this one absolutely kills me, it was suggested that during December we would have had a higher consumption because we would have been running Christmas lights. They automatically assumed that we are a) Christian, and b) would have been running Christmas lights. Our religion is absolutely none of their business, and to assume either of those two things is ludicrous. It was immediately made clear to Toronto Hydro that our religion is irrelevant, and we did NOT put up Christmas lights in December because two of the three members of our household were away for the last half of December.
Since then, we have been in contact with our actual energy provider and they proved to be quite useful. They sent us the usage data for the last 24 billing periods and were eager to assist with this matter. When Toronto Hydro was asked for usage details, what we received was ONLY the details for the billing period in question. That was absolutely useless to us. We already HAD the information for that period.
During the summer, after months of trying to get Toronto Hydro to respond to this issue we took the following steps. We contacted our MP, our MPP, Hydro One, The Ontario Energy Board, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, and the Ombudsman for the Province of Ontario. We got only two responses back. The first was from the Ombudsman's office who indicated to us that this was outside their purview.
The second response was from our MPP, Peter Tabuns. His office attempted to assist us with this matter, but they were given the same response. The meter couldn't be wrong and the consumption was based on the smart meter reading. The indicated to our MPP's office that they would be in contact with us to try and resolve this issue. As of yet, we have heard absolutely nothing from Toronto Hydro.
There are several things that I have discovered as this situation has progressed. First, as I said before, consumers are FORCED to deal with Toronto Hydro. We have no choice. We cannot even argue any point regarding our bills because we don't read the meters or see the data. We simply have to take their word for it that the bill is correct. Well, I won't do that.
Second, I have discovered that contacting government agencies simply doesn't work. The agencies in place to assist consumers seem to be useless. I heard absolutely nothing from the Ministry, Hydro One, or the Ontario Energy Board.
Finally there is the issue of how the bill itself is prepared. Consumers in Ontario are charged a delivery fee for their hydro, based on some formula that absolutely nobody is aware of. I asked around and of all the people that I asked, nobody knew how Toronto Hydro comes up with the delivery rate. When the government of Ontario sold off Ontario Hydro, there was a massive debt. Consumers in Ontario are now paying a debt reudction charge on every single bill. Now I could be wrong, but paying off the debt of a government agency is a TAX. For some reason, this particular fee is also taxed with HST (previously GST only). This means that we are currently paying 13% tax, on a tax. That is completely inane to me. Add to this the actual rising costs of hydro and things become even worse.
Ontario consumers are being gouged with increasing energy costs, unreasonable (and unfathomable) delivery charges on that energy, and tax on tax. This kind of thing has to stop or nobody in the province will be able to afford their basic hydro needs.
See also this post on today's blog: http://mephie1.blogspot.com/2010/11/will-power-go-out-on-dalton-mcguinty.html
In particular this petition: http://www.unfairtaxgrab.com/home.html
Officals don't get it. The Internet is a powerful tool for people to communicate to each other, express their displeasure over issues, and be activists in their own right. The Liberals will pay the price for that.
The document is called "Renewable Energy Matters -- Campaign Outline". It was prepared on the 18th of Oct. The draft I have is a politically toned down version of a previous document.
This is some of what that document says:
A number of renewable energy developers have come together to form a lose coalition of interests, to promote renewable energy policy in Ontario and support the agenda set as part of the Green Energy and Economy Act and the Feed-in Tariff program.
The Liberal Government is also likely behind this. It goes on:
This coalition will be joined by other groups, such as Environmental Defence and the GEA Alliance, as well as labour, economic development, health and environmental stake holders, to develop a common messaging, communications tools (ie. paid and earned media) and targeted local campaigns in areas where opposition to renewable power exists.
That's you people at Wind Concerns Ontario.
This part is very interesting:
In this, it will be critical to "confuse" the issue in the political/public/media away from just price to include key value attribute such as jobs, clean air, farm income, etc. Renewables cannot be defined by price alone.
So there you have it. Be prepared for the con job of the century as these people try to convince the Ontario public that paying these high energy costs, losing your homes, getting cut off of power because you can't pay it, will all be worth it in the "big picture". How does it feel to be collateral damage?
Under the heading of Political and Policy Volatility this document acknowledges the costs of power are rising.
Prices for contracted power are skyrocketing -- even though HOEP [The
hourly price] as decreased, the Global Adjustment has risen exponentially.
The concern of this document, and hence the thrust of the campaign, is that the perception by the public is that renweables are to blame for these increases in rates (which of course it is). This document goes out of its way, including contradicting the Manufacturers and Exporters Association study that claimed 65% of coming price increases will be because of the Green Energy Act, to try and convince the public of this "misperception". This PR campaign will be about changing that perception -- with misinformation of course.
The document is worried that the next government will kill much of the GEA, thus ending the gravy train. "This needs to be addressed immediately" was emphasized. They're worried the free ride on your back will end.
The emphasis of the document is the message of jobs, jobs, jobs, in the green energy sector.
Not all jobs are created equal. There are two broad categories of jobs. Wealth Creation Jobs and Non-wealth Creation Jobs. Wealth Creation Jobs are born in the private sector. They contribute to the wealth generation of the Province and country. Non-wealth Creation Jobs are necessary jobs, vital to run the economy, but they are paid for from the Wealth Creation Jobs in the form of taxes. Government jobs are Non-wealth Creation Jobs, and so too are all energy sector jobs. Energy consumption is not a wealth creation activity. It's the cost of doing business and running the economy. It consumes wealth not create it.
Thus there has to be more Wealth Creation Jobs than Non-wealth Creation Jobs to pay for those Non-wealth Creation Jobs. Renewable energy jobs actually are worse that just straight Non-wealth Creation Jobs. The experience in Spain and other EU countries is that for every renewables Non-wealth Creation Job created, 2.2 Wealth Creation Jobs are lost due to the high costs of energy intrinsic to renewable energy. So in effect, the GEA will kill more jobs than it creates, while at the same time putting the public into energy poverty.
There will be no punches held back in this coming PR campaign. This from their Core Messaging:
Further research is also required post spike in bill fury, including focus
groups to colour, wording and emotional to craft effective targeted messages.
In order to talk past the "noisy activists" and editorial positions, there needs to be a coordinated paid, earned and social media campaign. This should be both reactive and proactive.
This will be a three week campaign, with points for each week set out in a tactical and strategic manner. The document sets out a goal of $300,000 of seed money from developers and manufacturers.
That is, the money you pay for your hydro will be funneled to run this campaign which will be an effort to make you feel good about paying your high bills.
The bottom line of this is simple. They just don't get it.
Expect a major push back against this campaign. This next year leading up to the next election is going to get messy. Expect to get your hands dirty. I will be doing my part to expose this fraud.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Behind the scenes, however, there is a growing movement in the scientific community against AGW theory. Recently a climate scientist has taken on the establishment. Scientific American even ran a story on her this month claiming she is a "heretic". SA then did an on line poll that blew up in their face. 87% of respondents chose that the IPCC is corrupted. 76% chose that AGW is false.
That scientist is Judith Curry. She has started a blog, http://judithcurry.com/, and the articles are great. I'm of course in there making comments as much as I can. What is the most significant part of the dialog in the comments are the supporters of AGW trying to shut her up. It isn't working, they are losing the battle big time.
The sands have shifted. AGW is not happening, never was, all that is happening in the climate and weather is normal variation. It's time for the other two political parties to denounce AGW.
This letter was sent to one of the group from the NDP:
from Ezia Cervoni , Leader's Corresondance Officer, NDP Andrea Horwath
Dear Ms. Harrison,
Thank you for your email to Andrea Horwath, Leader, Ontario's NDP expressing your views on Smart Meters.
A Toronto Hydro study looked at ten thousand households in Toronto that have been billed using so-called smart meters since 2009. The study confirmed that after a year of operation:
• On average 80 percent of households have been paying higher rates than before smart meters were installed and there has been little if any shift in household energy consumption.
• In one billing period – from June to September, 2009 – ninety-two per cent of households paid more.
• On average, households seeing an increase were paying anywhere from 2 to 7 per cent more.
• These increases are separate from the added cost to households for the cost of the smart meter itself. Across Ontario, consumers will be paying $1.25 – $4.45 a month for decades to recover these costs.
The McGuinty Liberals have spent billions on a scheme that leaves people paying more and leaves Ontario falling behind in our conservation goals.
I’ve included, in the body of this email, a recent press release by Andrea on smart meters for your information.
Again, thank you for your email.
Leader's Correspondence Officer
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"In fact, as clean energy companies prepare to invest billions in a Mojave Desert solar farm in California, the Green Energy Act is doing the same thing in Ontario. Over the next three years, the province will see 10 times as many solar panels installed than existed across the whole country at the end of 2009.
These will come through the 15,000 rooftops and fields due for solar power — pumping more than 1,000 megawatts into our electricity grid. Enough power for a million homes.
Consider this: the world’s largest solar farm is in Ontario. It pumps in 80 megawatts into the grid, and employed 800 people to build it.
Then there’s wind. In about a year, contracts have been awarded for more than 1,500 megawatts of wind capacity. That’s 650 windmills about to go up, each one employing someone, each one generating clean energy to replace coal."
Of course that is a lie. All that wind and solar power is getting exported to the US because we have a gult of power. Wind will never be able to replace coal.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Based on this analysis, it is difficult to justify Germany's decision in 2000 to undertake the PV solar subsidy based on a review of economic, air pollution or global warming considerations. Instead, it is an extremely expensive way to subsidize an industrial sector, create jobs and reduce CO2.
Because of the large gap between the FIT rates and utility electric rates, it is easy for German households and businesses see that a decision to “go solar” makes economic sense, much to the delight of PV solar vendors, financiers and developers who call this (for them) a success. Spain is having a similar disastrous experience with its PV solar FITs. See this article.
If we are to mitigate climate change at a reasonable cost, we must use technologies that provide the greatest reduction in CO2 per dollar invested. As a renewable, PV solar is among the highest in capital cost per installed kW and the lowest in power production and CO2 reduction per dollar invested.
Capital-intensive investments in inefficient PV solar systems that, without subsidies, have simple paybacks of 20-40 years divert resources from less capital-intensive measures, such as energy efficiency that, without subsidies, has simple paybacks of 1-5 years AND reduces CO2 more effectively AND requires no changes to the grid AND is INVISIBLE. My recommendation would be to do energy efficiency first and renewables later. There is not sufficient money to do both at the same time.
The German government had budgeted a certain amount for PV solar subsidies for 2010. Because of the rapid rate of installation of PV solar systems this amount is depleted.
The German government, already under budget pressures, is finding it politically difficult to rein in the inefficient PV solar sector which will become more harmful to the overall efficiency of the economy as it gets bigger.
The German government, over much opposition, has decreased the FITs at a faster pace than originally planned, and is planning still more rapid FIT decreases, to slow the growth of the sector to a more affordable rate. There were FIT reductions of 9-11% on 1 January, 2010, 8-13% on 1 July, 2010, and 3% on 1 October, 2010. Additional reductions are planned for 2011. These reductions are in addition to scheduled reductions. These FIT reductions caused spikes of 1,461 MW and 1,700 MW installed in December 2009 and June 2010, respectively, to beat the deadlines.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The UK government is starting to finally see the folly of human caused global warming (AGW), and the costs it has imposed on their citizens.
It's time for a political party here to denounce AGW before the next election. AGW is crumbling fast as the evidence never did support the premise of a coming catastrophic climate change.