Premier Ford is meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault tonight and tomorrow to discuss economic recovery plans. If Premier Ford is lucky, the Quebec Premier will be bringing him a big gift – a way to finally meet Premier Ford’s promise to reduce our electricity costs by 12%.
Premier Legault has made no secret of the fact that his government would love to sign a long-term electricity export deal with Ontario. That’s because Quebec has a huge surplus of low cost water power that it has been dumping for pennies on American spot markets for years. Quebec would much rather sell this power to Ontario at a still bargain rate of 5 cents per kWh under a 20-year contract .
Strangely, Ontario premier after premier has turned a deaf ear to Quebec’s generous offers. And despite the fact that Premier Ford claims he is different from his predecessors, it seems like he still can’t hear the fantastic offer being put forward by Premier Legault over the shouting from Ontario’s nuclear special interest lobby.
As a businessman, Premier Ford would never turn down an offer to get a commodity at half the price. But that is exactly what he is doing in refusing Quebec’s offer. We are paying 9.5 cents per kWh for nuclear power today and will be paying almost twice that by 2025. It is simply economic insanity to continue to pursue high-cost nuclear when we have a better option knocking on our door. And the last thing people in Ontario need right now is higher – not lower – hydro rates.
For a minuscule fraction of the cost of rebuilding one nuclear reactor (and Ontario’s current plan is to rebuild 10 of these dinosaurs ~ $26 B), we can build a new 20 km. transmission line near Ottawa (~$80 M) that would allow us to import enough low-cost Quebec water power to completely do away with the need for power from both the Pickering and Darlington Nuclear Stations.
Ontario’s perplexing plan to replace the power from the Pickering Station, which is scheduled to close in 2024, with gas-fired electricity, will result in a more than 300% increase in climate pollution from our electricity sector. This will make it impossible for Ontario to meet even its already inadequate 2030 climate targets.
It’s time for Premier Ford to exercise some of the “common sense” he loves to talk about and make a deal with Premier Legault. The result will be lower costs, fewer climate damaging emissions and less air pollution.
Click here to send a message to Premier Ford. Tell him to deliver on his promises to help Ontarians deal with the economic fallout from COVID-19 and lower our electricity rates by 12% by making a deal with Quebec.
Angela Bischoff, Director