Ontario’s Overall Electricity Rate Situation – Podcast from NewsTalk 610 CKTB Radio

On Friday April 20th, I did a radio interview with Tom McConnell of NewsTalk 610 CKTB in St. Catherines.

The interview runs about 38 minutes, excluding ads and news, which are included in the podcast. The podcast has a countdown timer, which is used here to annotate the interview so that you can find the bits that might interest you.

49:00 Comparing what the government says about the rate increase vs. the real story. Reader wanting more can should check out this column from Parker Gallant. Parker’s column one of the smartest pieces of writing on Ontario’s electricity rate situation that I have seen in long time.

47:00 Why you will be hit by double-digit rate increases over the next few years.

46:00 Why the need for reliability and asset renewal does not explain why Ontario’s power rates are rocketing up while US rates decline or are flat.

45:00 The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts declining rates for industrial and commercial consumers in the US and flat rates for households.

43:00 I discusses Ontario’s history of low rates (sometimes artificially low) and how our economy was built around an assumption that electricity would remain reasonably priced.

41:50 Note the error where I intended to remark on Ontario’s rates now exceed those in the US and about to surpass those rates, but mistakenly replacing “Ontario rates” with Canadian rates”.

41:20 Ontario’s rates will exceed those of any jurisdiction in the US and Canada by 2013. I don’t discuss it in the interview, but it is interesting to note that the OPA used to publish comparative rates analysis but no longer does.

41:00 The rate of increase in Ontario’s prices will accelerate in 2014.

39:00 until 34:00 advertising

34:00 – 29:00 McConnell asks why the decline in the price of natural gas is helping lower US power rates while Ontario’s power rates are being driven up by natural gas-fired generation. I explain that the way gas-fired generation is being used makes all the difference. McConnel nails the implications of fickle wind on the rest of our generation fleet.

29:00-23:00 News

22:20 McConnell asks what is the impact on consumers of new renewable energy generation so far and in the foreseeable future. I explain that the immediate impact of the Feed-In Tariff  (FIT) program has so far been minimal but will quickly grow to be the main factor driving up prices.

21:00 – 18:45 McConnell asks what is driving up rates. I discuss the role of various Ontario government policies.

18:45 McConnell asks about the impact of conservation. I explain that conservation is an important factor driving up rates.

15:50 I discuss the financial instability that is about to arise as the unsubsidized cost of solar power falls below the cost of grid power. Consumer able to make those investments will start reducing their reliance on grid-supplied power, leaving consumers unable to switch holding the bag.

15:00 I draw attention to the plight of low-income consumers. Seniors who are unable

13:50 McConnell expresses alarm about Ontario’s practice of paying neighbouring utilities to take our power. I explained why Ontario consumers are funding this bonanza for our competitors. I didn’t note, but should have, that the McGuinty government applauds its own record in making Ontario an electricity export power house. I am a strong supporter of free trade in electricity but claiming that exports “Keep costs down for families” is dishonest.

11:35-6:45 ads

6:45 – 3:40 I respond to an on-line caller asking if the problem with the power system is excessive executive compensation. I explain that in most instances, Ontario’s electricity executives are doing a reasonable job for reasonable pay and delivering reasonable value.

3:40 – 3:10 I discuss key priorities if we are to contain the cancerous growth of Ontario’s electricity prices.

3:10 – 1:30 What can individual consumers do?

0:30 The implications for low-income consumers and high electricity consuming employers.



One Comment

  1. Tom, Great relevant and informative interview. You covered all the bases in a fair and concise manner pointing out the mess the politicians have made. Whatever happened to common sense coupled with a cost benefit analysis? The link to my article referenced should be here; http://www.freewco.blogspot.ca/2012/04/ontario-energy-board-transparently.html in the event visitors/readers are interested in what I had to say about the OEB’s announcement on price increases.

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