April 10, 2006

Stopping coal-fired electricity imports on smog days

By paying electricity consumers in Ontario to reduce demand on smog-alert days, we can reduce air pollution, reduce the soaring cost of electricity on high-demand days and keep electricity dollars in Ontario instead of paying for high-cost imports of dirty coal-fired power from the Ohio Valley.

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is planning to introduce a new demand-response program in the summer of 2006 that will help the province tap into these and other benefits by paying major power consumers to reduce demand on smog-alert days.  This is an important step in the right direction, but there are some serious limitations to the OPA’s proposed program:

1. The OPA is proposing that those industries or institutions willing to reduce demand on smog-alert or high-demand days be paid less than the rate for U.S. imports (potentially as much as 80% less).  This makes little sense.  By paying demand-response participants the same rate we would pay for imports, we will maximize demand reductions and eliminate the need for dirty power imports that generate smog that drifts into our airshed.

2. The OPA is also proposing to cap the amount of demand-response measures it will purchase at 250 megawatts (MW), despite the fact that Ontario imported more than 3,000 MW of coal-fired electricity imports on some smog-alert days last summer.  Why put an artificial cap on the cleaner alternative?  It would make far more sense for the OPA to purchase all available cost-effective demand reductions on smog-alert days.

Those hazy and all-too-smoggy days of summer are coming soon, so the sooner we get an effective and wide-reaching demand-response program in place, the better.

For more information about this issue, please see our new report: Stopping Coal-Fired Electricity Imports on Smog Days: A Review of the OPA’s Proposed 250 MW Demand Response Program, available on our website at www.cleanairalliance.org.

Please contact Ontario’s Energy Minister at Donna.Cansfield@energy.gov.on.ca and ask her to direct the OPA to: 1) pay Ontario consumers the same price for demand reductions that we are paying U.S. coal-fired generators for power imports; and 2) eliminate its arbitrary 250 MW cap on Made-in-Ontario demand reductions.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you

Jessica Fracassi
Communications & Membership Manager
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601
Email: info@cleanair.web.ca
Website: www.cleanairalliance.org