Friday, December 10, 2010

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.


  1. Well Tim, you almost had my vote in the next election (whenever that might be) UNTIL you mentioned nuclear power. Nuclear power stations are what got this province into such a financial mess to begin with. They ALWAYS - without exception - cost much more than estimated, plus, there's the "back end" of this industry - the radioactive legacy for our children and grandchildren and all of THEIR descendents to, you may as well say, the end of time. Nuclear waste is potent for BILLIONS of years, not thousands, and will have to be monitored forever. There's also the immense cost of decommissioning these power plants - you can't just go in and tear them down and haul the rubble to a landfill.
    In the long haul there are only two realistic strategies: first teach people how to reduce their consumption without it seriously reducing their lifestyles (and it most certainly CAN be done at a cost to each household of only about $70 - I have done it) and second: pour a big piece of what would be spent on a nuclear station into research and development to eleminate the greater portion of present emissions. Developing such an industry (soon) would give Canada the jump worldwide. China, and perhaps other countries as well have already embarked on research in this area. And it CAN be done.I've seen industries -when pressured - that have drastically reduced their emissions. I might add, I would rather leave my grandchildren with a bit of smoke to contend with than the thousands of tonnes of extremely dangerous and deadly nuclear waste we have already accumulated. I'd rather my tax dollars were devoted to such a scheme that would bring jobs and income for future generations, than one that leaves them, in the long term, at extreme risk. The public, and it seems, the politicians representing them, have been continually duped into thinking of nuclear energy as "green" and benign. It is anything but! Please familiarize yourself and your party with the FACTS about this insidious industry.

  2. Two things.

    First, the more people conserve, which drives down demand, the higher the price people pay for power because of the Global Ajustment. So no one saves. Add to this that the population in Ontario is still growing faster than people can conserve. So that will push up demand.

    I'm all in favour of any production mode that reliably produces power, including coal with your emissions controls. That's a no brainer.

    It also included nuke power, which is safer now than 20 years ago. Even China is looking at the new Westinghouse reactor for wide use there.


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