Doug Ford, the man who wants to fire the entire board of Hydro One, is ready to take the word of the even more powerful Ontario Power Generation (OPG) that continuing to operate its high-cost Pickering Nuclear Station is somehow a bargain for Ontarians.
Strangely, Ford seems uninterested in whether there are lower cost alternatives to continuing to operate one of North America’s oldest and least reliable nuclear stations. Instead, he seems eager to ignore Pickering’s highest-in-North-America operating costs and to not rock the boat on OPG’s high cost and high risk nuclear operations that have played a major role in driving up electricity rates in Ontario.
If this is an example of the business-like approach Mr. Ford has promised voters, we should be deeply worried about his business smarts.
Here are the facts that Ford has ignored:
– According to OPG’s 2015 Nuclear Benchmarking Report, Pickering’s operating costs are higher than those of any other nuclear station on the continent.
– Pickering’s operating costs are 9.2 cents per kWh.
– According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario, in 2017, Ontario bought 4 billion kWh of electricity from Quebec, on the spot market, at an average price of 2.2 cents per kWh .
– Hydro Quebec has offered to sell Ontario a 20-year firm supply of electricity at a price of 5 cents per kWh, which is 46% less than the cost of continuing to operate Pickering.
– During many hours of the year (e.g., at night and on weekends) Ontario’s nuclear reactors produce more electricity than is consumed in Ontario. Since the inflexible Pickering Nuclear Station’s output cannot be lowered during off-peak hours, approximately 50% of Pickering’s nuclear power is exported at an average market price of 1.6 cents per kWh. Selling Pickering’s power at a loss costs Ontario’s electricity consumers $737 million per year.
– In 2017 the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters told the Ontario Energy Board that “OPG’s plan to extend operations at Pickering is not economically feasible and, far from producing savings for ratepayers, may increase the price of electricity service in Ontario .”
– By closing the Pickering Nuclear Station, when its licence expires in August, and signing a long-term electricity supply agreement with Hydro Quebec, we can reduce our electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year.
For more information on the benefits of closing the Pickering Nuclear Station please click here to read our report: We have better choices: It’s time to close the aging Pickering Nuclear Plant.
Please pass this message on to your friends.
Angela Bischoff, Director