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’ »
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’ »
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’ »
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’ »
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’ »
In March 1993, one of the defining moments in Maurice Strong’s leadership period for Ontario Hydro occurred — Strong announced the shut down the utility’s energy conservation programs. He justified his initiative noting that conservation programs during the prevailing surplus of generating capacity would harm consumers already hurting from recent rate increases. At the time, a few conservation-at-all-cost folks whined but most people who thought about it accepted Strong’s sensible approach.
A measure of how different Ontario’s electricity policy debate has become a quarter of a century later is how alien Maurice Strong’s approach sounds today. Continue reading ‘Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Pushes the Conservation Con’ »
Here are notes on three radio interviews from yesterday analyzing the Ontario government’s so-called “Fair Hydro Plan” that would deficit-finance electricity bills until after the next election. Continue reading ‘Three Podcasts from May 25 Analyzing the Ontario Gov’t’s “Fair Hydro Plan”’ »
Justice Policy Committee
May 23, 2017, 11 am
Deputation for Bill 132
Current law, as reflected in Section 79.16 of the OEB Act and O. Reg. 95/05 and as articulated in the OEB’s Standard Supply Service Code, the RPP Manual, and the Retail Settlement Code all require the Regulated Price Plan (RPP) rates to recover the full cost of power (as reflected in HOEP and GA).
Despite all of that, the existing RPP rate effective May 1 recovers less than the full cost.
The current RPP is illegal. Continue reading ‘Deputation for Bill 132 “Fair Hydro Act”’ »
This site was hacked at least twice recently. Malicious code was redirecting traffic and caused the site to be taken down for several days. The malware has been removed. Thanks for your patience.
Post Script: updated March 13
One of the general themes of this website is to document how public policy debates over energy in Ontario don’t obviously display the collective wisdom to correctly identify even short-run cause and effect relationships. One example of this deficiency relates to labour compensation rates in the utility sector. Is executive compensation at OPG and Hydro One causing rates in Ontario to soar (or is executive compensation there generally a good deal for ratepayers?) Here is a discussion I had with radio host Tom McConnell on February 2 starting at about 10 minutes after 10am. A short summary with time stamps follows. Continue reading ‘Compensation Pain (podcast)’ »