Province can shave $1.2 billion from electricity costs

 Every week at Queen’s Park, the opposition rails about rising hydro bills while the governing party dreams up another subsidy to disguise rising prices.  But no one talks about what is really behind rising prices, or practical steps that can be taken right now to cut these prices.

Except the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, that is.  Our new report, Ontario’s Electricity Surplus: An Opportunity to Reduce Costs, explains how a) subsidies for dirty coal plants ($367 million/year) and b) the badly aging Pickering Nuclear Station – are driving up the province’s electricity costs. 

With a large and growing electricity supply surplus – capacity exceeding peak demand by 48% this summer – market prices have slumped far below Pickering’s fuel and operating costs. This is not surprising given that Pickering A is the highest cost nuclear plant in North America (Pickering B is close behind in 5th place). 

The inflexibility of the province’s nuclear fleet has also led to numerous periods where the province has had to pay out-of-province buyers to take our power. 

We calculate that the province can reduce its electricity costs by up to 7.6% or $1.2 billion per year by shutting down its coal plants and mothballing Pickering as soon as possible.  That’s a real recipe for lower electricity costs, not a shell-game subsidy.

 Please send a message to Energy Minister Chris Bentley (and cc me) asking him to protect taxpayers and electricity consumers by flipping the switch off superfluous coal-fired electric generation and mothballing Pickering.  It’s time for the province to finally end its expensive and dangerous coal and nuclear bear hugs and embrace safer and cheaper alternatives instead.