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Niagara Falls and Thornhill voters get answers
Electricity prices have been a big issue in the two current provincial by-elections. So we asked the candidates from the four major parties whether they were prepared to oppose Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) request for a 30% price increase for nuclear power and whether they would strike a deal for lower-cost water power imports from Quebec instead.
Candidates from two parties – the NDP and Greens – said yes. The Liberal party candidates said they would leave it to the Ontario Energy Board to decide whether to grant OPG a price increase and that “the Ontario government has laid out a plan to consider opportunities for clean imports from other jurisdictions, but only when the scenario is right for Ontario ratepayers.”
The Progressive Conservative candidates refused to reply, despite campaigning on the need to bring down electricity costs and blaming green power sources for price increases, while ignoring the fact that it is nuclear energy that is far and away the largest contributor to recent price rises.
Voters in Niagara Falls and Thornhill have an interesting choice to make: Support the status quo of giant and costly nuclear projects that have a long history of running vastly over budget or support candidates interesting in developing a more flexible and cost-effective system by working with our neighbours in Quebec.
The Ontario Liberal Party has been asking Ontarians to help develop and select key policy platform ideas for consideration. We proposed the replacement of costly and high-risk nuclear re-build projects with low-cost water power imports from Quebec.
Our idea was one of more than 1,700 the Liberals received through their online Common Ground portal. But our idea caught fire and is now ranked No. 5! It is now one of just 20 ideas that will go forward for further consideration and voting by the party’s members. Based on total votes, the top 3 ideas will be presented to Premier Wynne.
We need your help to bump our idea up to the top 3. If you’re an Ontario Liberal party member, please vote for our “idea” now. Deadline is Fri. Feb. 7th, so don’t delay!
We’re not surprised that so many Ontarians saw our common sense idea for controlling electricity costs as a winner. Importing hydro power from Quebec could save the province more than $1 billion a year compared to re-building the reactors at the aging Darlington Nuclear Station.
Let’s make low-cost water power from Quebec a winner for all Ontarians - lowering our electricity bills and avoiding high-cost nuclear projects.
According to Tim Hudak, a PC Government will cut our electricity bills. But does Mr. Hudak really understand what is driving rising electricity costs?
Mr. Hudak likes to give the impression that our rising electricity rates are primarily due to subsidies for solar and wind energy. However, according to a report by Navigant Consulting for the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), subsides for solar and wind raised our electricity generation costs by only 10% in 2012. On the other hand, subsidies for nuclear electricity raised our costs by 43%.
To add insult to injury, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is now asking the Ontario Energy Board for permission to raise its nuclear rates by 30% to start paying for the re-building of the Darlington Nuclear Station. Yet we can import water power from Quebec at less than half the cost of re-building Darlington.
So why does Mr. Hudak support the Darlington Re-Build Project despite the fact that we can reduce our electricity bills by more than $1 billion per year by importing water power from Quebec instead?
Why isn’t he opposing OPG’s proposed 30% nuclear rate increase?
And why isn’t he calling for Ontario to sign a long-term electricity supply contract with Hydro Quebec for low-cost water power?
According to the IESO, in 2013, Ontario got 59% of its electricity from nuclear power and only approximately 4% from wind and solar. Bloated nuclear mega projects with a long history of being finished behind schedule and over budget are the real cause of our sky-rocketting electricity bills. Mr. Hudak needs to focus on high cost nuclear power if he really wants to reduce our electricity rates.
We need your help to get Mr. Hudak to support solutions that will actually lower our electricity bills and move Ontario towards an efficient and cost-effective 100% renewable electricity grid.
1. Please let Mr. Hudak know that you oppose OPG’s 30% nuclear price increase and that you support water power imports. You can send this message to Mr. Hudak (as well as Premier Wynne, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner) by signing our Stop the Increase Petition now .
3. Please pass this message on to your friends.
Woodstock Hydro is demonstrating the real potential for energy conservation in Ontario. It has achieved more than one-and-a-half times its targeted energy savings making it the leader among Ontario electric utilities in the quest to tap our full efficiency potential. Woodstock Hydro gained top place by exceeding the 2011-2014 conservation targets set by Government of Ontario and the Ontario Energy Board by 152% in just two years.
Other top performers were Chapleau Public Utilities (109%), Festival Hydro (108%), Guelph Hydro (106%), Rideau St. Lawrence Distribution (103%) and Cambridge North Dumfries Hydro (also 103%).
In contrast, Hydro One had achieved only 45% of its target by the end of 2012. Toronto Hydro had achieved 78% of its target.
On average, Ontario’s 76 electric utilities achieved 65% of their total 2011 to 2014 electricity saving targets as of December 2012. Click here to see how your electric utility performed.
Energy conservation is the lowest cost and fastest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the need for expensive new electricity generation and transmission capacity. With the province’s new “Conservation First” mandate, we expect to see the kind of results recorded in Woodstock become the norm across Ontario.
To find out more about Ontario’s progress on energy efficiency read the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s Annual Energy Conservation Progress Report – 2012 (Volume Two).
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has applied to the Ontario Energy Board for a 30% increase in the price it is paid for nuclear power, to begin paying the massive bill for re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.
But pushing up rates by close to a third is just the beginning. OPG still has no firm budget for the true cost of this project, which ought to scare the pants off of anyone in Ontario who has paid any attention to how this company runs its affairs .
Meanwhile, our neighbours in Quebec enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in North America (if not the lowest). Quebec has been exporting power to the U.S. for around four cents a kilowatt hour – less than half OPG’s preliminary estimate of the cost of re-building Darlington’s aging reactors. It has a growing electricity surplus thanks to falling electricity demand at home and two huge new generating projects that are coming online. Now is the time to make a deal for long-term power imports that can cheaply and cleanly replace the power from the aging Darlington reactors.
Think clean, safe, low-cost renewable power beats high-cost nuclear hands down? Then sign our petition calling on the government to stop OPG in its tracks and work out a deal with Quebec instead.
- Angela Bischoff
Today Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli released the province’s new Long Term Energy Plan. The new plan has the potential to reduce electricity costs by importing low-cost water power from Quebec and Manitoba, and by ramping up energy efficiency efforts.
Specifically, according to the Plan, Ontario will “pursue contractual arrangements for firm imports where cost effective and well matched to Ontario’s electricity needs.” Furthermore, it notes that “... energy imports can provide value if their price is less than domestic generation. They can also further diversify Ontario’s supply.”
In fact, Ontario can reduce its electricity bills by more than $1 billion per year by importing Quebec water power, thereby avoiding the need for the costly re-building of the Darlington Nuclear Station.
On the energy conservation front, the government announced that it has decided to apply its Conservation First policy to natural gas as well as electricity. This means that Ontario is now committed to meeting our electricity and natural gas needs by investing in all cost-effective energy conservation and efficiency resources before investing in new electricity and natural gas supply, which is great news for consumers and our environment.
As for nuclear, the plan commits to continued – and in our view completely unnecessary – re-building of nuclear units, but it does at least make a rhetorical commitment to putting these projects on a shorter financial leash and lays out an extended construction timeline with “appropriate off-ramps” for when it becomes clear that these projects are neither needed or cost effective.
There is no question that if the government seriously pursues an agreement to import low-cost Quebec power and makes Conservation First planning a reality, we will be taking those nuclear off ramps sooner rather than later.