March 26, 2007

McGuinty Government selling energy conservation short

Despite repeated statements that it wants to phase out our dirty coal plants as soon as possible, the McGuinty Government is still not pursuing the quickest and cheapest option to do so – paying large volume commercial, institutional and industrial customers to shift some of their electricity consumption to off-peak periods on peak demand days.

In the summer of 2006, Toronto Hydro introduced programs that paid its customers to shift their consumption to off-peak periods.  The result was that Toronto’s peak day electricity consumption fell by 5 megawatts last year despite the fact that, on a province-wide basis, Ontario’s total peak day demand increased by 4%.  Moreover, according to Toronto Hydro, the financial benefits of its large volume commercial, institutional and industrial peak saving program exceeded its costs by an astounding ratio of 181 to 1.

Peak saving programs are among the most cost-effective conservation efforts because the cost of supplying electricity is at its highest on peak demand days.  In fact, according to a recent report by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), the cost of supplying electricity at the time of system peak in Ontario is a whopping $1.64 per kWh – or more than 16 times the annual average price of electricity.

Unfortunately, the OPA, in true bureaucratic fashion, is refusing to aggressively pursue this low-cost option to phase out dirty coal.  According to the OPA, it will not launch its large volume peak shifting program until May or June, which will give large electricity customers little time to prepare and respond before the summer peak hits.  Worse yet, the OPA says it is unwilling to pay the actual full cost of supplying electricity in peak periods — $1.64 per kWh —  to those who are willing to reduce their peak day demands.

Please contact Energy Minister Duncan at and ask him to direct the OPA to pay Ontario’s municipal utilities (e.g., Toronto Hydro) and large volume commercial, institutional and industrial customers up to $1.64 per kWh to reduce their peak day demands this summer.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you

Jessica Fracassi
Communications & Membership Manager
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601