The Bullet News
January 24, 2014
Jack Gibbons

The Editor:

What will Niagara Falls candidates do about rising electricity costs?

The rise in electricity rates is already a hot button issue in the Niagara Falls provincial by-election. But how well do the candidates really understand what is driving these increases?

According to a report prepared for the Independent Electricity System Operator, 43% of recent electricity generation cost increases have been due to nuclear system costs. Just 10% can be attributed to the province’s efforts to increase the use of green power sources such as solar and wind.

Now, Ontario Power Generation is requesting a further 30 per cent increase in the price it is paid for electricity from its nuclear plants to help pay for the re-building of the Darlington Nuclear Station.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance is asking Niagara Falls candidates where they stand on OPG’s request. Should OPG proceed with the costly re-building of Darlington, or should the province import lower cost water power from Quebec instead?

The Alliance points out that Quebec water power imports could save provincial electricity ratepayers as much as $1 billion a year, based on OPG’s optimistic estimate of the cost of re-building Darlington.

“Of course, no Ontario nuclear project has ever been completed on time or on budget, so the savings could be many times greater,” points out OCAA Chair Jack Gibbons.

“The people of Niagara deserve some straight talk on this issue,” he adds. “It’s time for candidates to stop tilting at windmills and start coming forward with practical solutions, like importing Quebec water power and improving the efficiency of our energy use.”

The Alliance has posted a petition opposing OPG’s price increase, which has already been signed by more than 1,000 Ontarians. The petition is online at www.StopTheIncrease.org.

Jack Gibbons
Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance