March 3, 2010

Time for Hydro to get religion

Despite earlier assurances from Toronto Hydro that it opposed a provincial proposal to build a disruptive and costly high-voltage transmission line through Scarborough, Leaside and Riverdale, the utility now says it is open to the idea.

In a recent submission to the Ontario Energy Board, Toronto Hydro said the utility is “agnostic” about the best solution for addressing the “serious supply mix problem facing the City of Toronto.” The utility, apparently, sees no advantage to meeting our electricity needs by a combination of energy conservation and small-scale, high-efficiency combined heat and power plants rather than a disruptive new transmission line.

This is despite the well-known advantages of generating power locally: eliminating transmission system power losses; the ability to keep hospitals and other critical centres fully operational in the face of a widespread blackout; and, best of all, no need to construct much more costly transmission lines and new nuclear units to supply power to Toronto.

But to avoid the need for a third transmission line to downtown Toronto, we need Toronto Hydro, Hydro One and the Ontario Power Authority to work together to eliminate the multiple barriers to combined heat and power plants.

In other words, it is time for Toronto Hydro, Hydro One and the Ontario Power Authority to get religion on the advantages of energy conservation and small-scale distributed power, and for the province to actively support the development of such projects.

You can find out more about what needs to be done to ensure a reliable power supply in downtown and central Toronto from our new report, Toronto on the electricity edge: Fixing Toronto’s electricity security of supply problems available at

Please email Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid at and ask him to implement a plan to avoid the need for a third high-voltage transmission line to downtown Toronto (and cc me).

Please pass this message on to your friends and colleagues.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director
Ontario Clean Air Alliance

402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1

Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 246

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