Restructuring and Privatizing Hydro One in the Public Interest

This morning, CBC’s Morning North program ran an interview I did with host Marcus Schwabe about the proposal from the Ontario Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, chaired by Ed Clark, which last week issued an interim report proposing in part restructuring and privatizing parts of the Crown-own electricity wires company Hydro One.
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Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 119: Gold-Plated Garbage Cans at Toronto Hydro

Toronto Hydro pumps out relentless propaganda about its “aging infrastructure” and “obsolete equipment”. In 2012, the utility warned that without a dramatic increase in its rate of capital spending, public safety is at risk.

Toronto Hydro’s latest critical infrastructure renewal target: garbage cans. Price tag for the 160 replacement garbage cans? Continue reading ‘Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 119: Gold-Plated Garbage Cans at Toronto Hydro’ »

Time Annotations for Nov. 3 Radio Interview re. Ontario Power Rates

What follows below is an annotated summary of the discussion I had with Tom McConnell of CKTB Niagara and CJBK London radio stations between 10 and 11 am on November 3rd. A recording of the interview is available on Soundcloud here. Timestamps are included to allow listeners to find content of interest. The descriptions of discussion here not literal transcriptions.

Main points: New analysis shows that wind, solar and conservation are worse for Ontario consumers than previously understood. If Ontario’s power system was structured as if consumers matter many current policies would have to be reversed. Minister Chiarelli pronouncements on financial basics of the power system are unreliable. Electricity in Ontario has become the new version of tobacco, with government seeking to stamp out consumption. Industrial power rate competitiveness is an economic problem that must be addressed. Coal power with modern emission controls to eliminate smog could benefit Ontario consumers.
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What Goes Up…Ontario’s Soaring Electricity Prices and How to Get Them Down

Here is a link to the Fraser Institute publication referenced in the title of this post authored by Ross McKitrick and myself.

All substantive comments on the report are welcome. Spitballers need not apply.

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Crock of Conservation

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mandate letter to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, released September 25th, acknowledges that her government intends to keep raising electricity rates but says her government will solve this problem for consumers with something she calls “Conservation First”.

Getting more value from each kilowatt-hour is a fine idea, but dropping power demand is worsening the problem of power rate competitiveness and affordability in Ontario.

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Dammed Heritage, Damned Consumers

Next week, a company called Swift River Energy Limited will start ripping up the landscape to dam the waterfalls at the heart of the town of Bala, Ontario. The 4.5 MW project, located where Lake Muskoka issues into the Moon River, would produce a trivial amount of useful power. Most of the output will be delivered when Ontario and neighbouring utilities are already over-supplied. Ontario consumers will pay far above market rates for every drop of its juice — up to 17.685 cents/kWh. For the foreseeable future, the consumers benefiting from this project will be in Michigan and New York. They will pay pennies on the dollar for the exported power.

Lost will be an ancient portage route travelled for centuries by aboriginal people, explorers, fur traders, and more recently by recreational paddlers. Where there is today a public park with free parking and a place for folks to picnic, view the falls, swim and fish, in its place will be a concrete impoundment and powerhouse, probably surrounded with a barbed wire fence.

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Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 118: Yet Another Award for Toronto Hydro’s CEO

Last night, the Ontario Energy Association conferred its “Leader of the Year” award upon Anthony Haines, CEO of Toronto Hydro. Over the course of this series I have documented many events and actions where the actual performance of Mr. Haines contrasts starkly against his many awards and other special recognitions. The number and prominence of his awards and special recognitions is substantial. Continue reading ‘Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 118: Yet Another Award for Toronto Hydro’s CEO’ »

Suzuki-land Campaigns for Higher Ontario Electricity Rates

Over the last while, CBC’s flagship Toronto show, “Metro Morning with Matt Galloway”, has featured commentaries by business columnists Michael Hlinka and Armine Yalnizyan on Ontario’s electricity sector. Although both have positioned their reports as measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to stop climate change, in both cases the columnists’
recommendations were more directly focused on increasing costs for consumers than on achieving any particular environmental objective. Continue reading ‘Suzuki-land Campaigns for Higher Ontario Electricity Rates’ »