A solution to Premier Wynne’s expensive electricity problem is staring her in the face

November 29, 2016

There is no mystery to why Ontario’s electricity prices are rising and causing Premier Wynne to fear for her political survival — she has doubled-down on nuclear power that is much more expensive than other available electricity.

Her problem in a nutshell — she has made the electricity consumer the fall guy in a drama written by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to preserve its cherished but aging nuclear generators.

The proof? An announcement by OPG that it is seeking a 180% increase in the price of its nuclear-generated electricity.

This dramatic price hike is needed to pay for OPG’s $13 billion Darlington Nuclear Station rebuild, and to extend operations at the old Pickering Nuclear Station which has the highest operating costs of any nuclear plant in North America.

What’s the solution? The electricity that the Wynne government studiously avoids taking seriously — Quebec’s much cheaper, abundant, available water power.

“OPG is admitting that its nuclear costs are sky-rocketing, even as the Wynne government turns a blind eye to our neighbour’s much cheaper water power,” said Jack Gibbons, Chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

“Premier Wynne’s decision to prop up aging nuclear plants has nothing to do with keeping the price of electricity down for you. In fact, her nuclear plans are going to unnecessarily increase your bills.

“This is all about coddling OPG which does not want to give up its nuclear toys,” Gibbons said.

Ontario recently signed an agreement to buy a limited amount of power from Quebec at 5 cents/kWh. More is available. Why are we instead buying Darlington and Pickering electricity that will cost 16.8 cents/kWh, according to OPG’s plan?

“If Premier Wynne wants to curb electricity price inflation, she needs to value Ontario electricity consumers more than she does the nuclear lobby,” Gibbons said.

“She needs to spend the $2 billion to upgrade transmission lines to Quebec that OPG says Ontario can’t afford, and she needs to cancel the $13 billion Darlington rebuild that OPG says we can afford,” he said.

“The solution to Premier Wynne’s expensive electricity problem is staring her in the face, and it’s saying “Bienvenue a Quebec!”, Gibbons said.

Nuclear-generated electricity price increases may well prove to be worse than planned for by OPG and the Wynne government. Nuclear construction projects have always — always — gone over budget in Ontario, on average the final price is 250% of the estimated price.

For further information:
Jack Gibbons, Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
(416) 260 2080 x 2
jack@cleanairalliance.org