Review of the Ontario PC 2018 Electricity Platform (National Post version added)

Patrick Brown’s election platform “guarantees” that the Ontario PCs “will fix Hydro”. He reverses the PC’s previous rejection of Premier Wynne’s Fair Hydro Plan, which shifts 25% of current household rates to taxpayers and future consumers. The new PC position is that the only problem with Wynne’s hydro cost shifting and deferral program is that it doesn’t go far enough. Brown’s Ontario PCs are promising they will “save” households 12% on their rates over and above Wynne’s existing 25% cut.

(A version of this commentary was published in the National Post November 30 print version and November 29 on-line. That text is appended below.) Continue reading ‘Review of the Ontario PC 2018 Electricity Platform (National Post version added)’ »

Perils of Populism

The Ontario PC party released the results of its membership vote on a wide range of policy initiatives yesterday in advance of the party’s policy convention tomorrow. On topics that would influence Ontario’s electricity future, the results emphasize (in case anyone doubted) profound dissatisfaction within the PC base about the electricity situation but also expose the party to the perils of populism. Continue reading ‘Perils of Populism’ »

Plea to Federal Government: Mitigate the Harm You have Caused at Muskrat Falls

On Monday October 2, 2017, I testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources. The main theme of my testimony was to plead with the federal government to act quickly to mitigate the harm it has caused by facilitating the Muskrat Madness project in Labrador. Recognizing the federal government’s role in causing the project in the first place when then Prime Minister Harper provided a loan guarantee for about half of the project’s cost, I called for the federal government to bail out Newfoundland & Labrador ratepayers by forgiving an amount sufficient to prevent the project from causing severe energy poverty — an amount I estimate to be about equal to the current federal guarantee. The second initiative I urged upon the federal government was to immediately bring the parties together to hammer out a negotiated energy storage solution between Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador so that Muskrat generation can be operated efficiently. Continue reading ‘Plea to Federal Government: Mitigate the Harm You have Caused at Muskrat Falls’ »

Guest Post: Ontario Liberal Politics Overriding Public Safety

One of the casualties in the Ontario government’s headlong rush into green energy has been the loss of balanced, responsible environmental assessment. Here is a short summary of two recent instances where the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has failed to responsibly administer environmental assessment processes and put the public at risk. For 12 years, this guest author, Mitchell Shnier, has been a leading figure in the fight to save the Bala Falls. Some pre-construction work has begun, destroying the traditional Bala Portage, but the proponent still does not have all the approvals they need for their proposed power development. For more detail, visit http://SaveTheBalaFalls.com

Guest Post by Mitchell Shnier Continue reading ‘Guest Post: Ontario Liberal Politics Overriding Public Safety’ »

Hide and Seek with ‘Fair’ Hydro Plan Costs

At the Ontario legislature’s Estimates Committee last week on Wednesday, NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns asked the Energy minister, the deputy minister, and OPG officials to explain an amount of $4 billion in extra financing costs that the Financial Accountability Officer attributed solely to the government’s choice of an “alternative” financing model. The fumbling responses to Tabuns from these officials contain traces of the government’s ultimate purposes behind its scheme — pretending to be lowering hydro bills prior to the next election without the new liability appearing in the government’s deficit. Continue reading ‘Hide and Seek with ‘Fair’ Hydro Plan Costs’ »

Ontario’s “Fair” Hydro Plan Clown Show

The regulatory and financial underpinnings of Ontario’s electricity situation, which governments have vigorously shaken and stirred since 1998, are once again the subject of what might be politely called “transformational change” with the passage of Bill 132, “Fair” Hydro Plan (FHP) Act, 2017.

It pains me to use the adjective “fair” in reference to this legislative vandalism.

This commentary in the journal Energy Regulatory Quarterly provides my more formal analysis of the legislation.

The remainder of this post presents less formal commentary. Continue reading ‘Ontario’s “Fair” Hydro Plan Clown Show’ »

National Post Column: Judgment Day finally comes for the Ontario Liberals’ gas-plant scandal

Here’s my much-condensed backgrounder on the current Ontario Liberal gas scandal trial, coauthored with my friend Parker Gallant. Continue reading ‘National Post Column: Judgment Day finally comes for the Ontario Liberals’ gas-plant scandal’ »