November 24, 2014

Premier Wynne ends electricity separatism

Last Friday Premier Wynne signed a breakthrough agreement with the Premier of Quebec that will end Ontario’s 100-year old policy of electricity separatism. 
Starting next year Ontario will provide Quebec with 500 megawatts of electricity supply in the winter when Quebec power demand peaks, while Quebec will provide Ontario with the same in the summer when air conditioning drives up our electricity usage.
Even more importantly, the two provinces have agreed to investigate the potential for a long-term electricity supply contract, which would allow Ontario to import water power from Quebec instead of re-building some or all of its aging nuclear reactors.  In our report released last week, we calculated that water power imports from Quebec could save Ontario consumers $14 billion over 20 years by allowing Ontario to phase-out Darlington’s aging reactors.
Congratulations Premier Wynne on providing Ontario with the smart and innovative leadership that we need to green our electricity system and lower our energy bills.
Bruce B Nuclear Re-Build Contract
Alas, there are also some indications that the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is close to signing a contract with Bruce Power for the re-building of its Bruce B Nuclear Station. If this contract is signed it will be the largest contract with the private sector ever entered into by the Government of Ontario.  It will cost Ontario’s consumers $60 billion to $111 billion over 30 years and will ensure that we remain dependent on high-cost nuclear power until 2050 and beyond.  
The OPA is hoping that Premier Wynne will allow it to sign this contract before it has been reviewed by the public or the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).  This lack of transparency and accountability on a deal this enormous is simply unacceptable.  
Please contact Premier Wynne and ask her to direct the OPA to submit the proposed contract to the OEB for a full public review.  In particular, before any contract with Bruce Power is signed, the OEB must determine if we can keep our lights on at a lower cost by investing in energy conservation and efficiency and importing water power from Quebec.
Thank you!

Angela Bischoff