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’ »

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Pushes the Conservation Con

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’ »

Three Podcasts from May 25 Analyzing the Ontario Gov’t’s “Fair Hydro Plan”

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”’ »

Deputation for Bill 132 “Fair Hydro Act”

Speaking Notes
Tom Adams
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”’ »

Apology to Readers

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

Compensation Pain (podcast)

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)’ »

Wynne’s Version of the Ernie Eves Electricity Rate Freeze

Down in the polls, embattled over hydro rates, and about to face the voters, two Ontario premiers in recent years opted for panic-inspired electricity sector interventions that resulted in long-term harm. Just before the 2003 election, Premier Eves imposed a rate freeze that destroyed the electricity market and rang up the deficit by about a billion dollars a year for several years. Just before the 2011 election, Premier McGuilty introduced a financial shell game called the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit that ended up adding over $5 billion to the province’s debt.

Ontario appears to be repeating that history now.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is right now trying to figure out what her government might do to appear to be freezing power rates. One modern twist on the old story is that now the Premier has her new slush fund — cap and trade — to play with.

Given the masterful communications capabilities of the Wynne government, her soon-to-be-announced electricity relief program is sure to have a catchy title to be emblazoned on bills. Folks are invited to suggest suitable marketing slogans in the comments below.

Here are three podcasts from recent radio interviews discussing the strategies she is probably considering and the implications for consumers and taxpayers. Continue reading ‘Wynne’s Version of the Ernie Eves Electricity Rate Freeze’ »

Cap and Tirade

The Ontario governing party with five criminal investigations ongoing including several related to document destruction, the party of pay-for-access policy-for-hire fundraisers, the party that dismisses the Auditor General as confused about many things to do with energy, that is the party that is right now concocting a carbon market in Ontario out of government decrees.

Here is my column in the Toronto Sun Jan. 15 looking at the cost implications of cap and trade for Ontario consumers and the similarities this new program has with the Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009 and also the provincial government’s continued program of subsidized energy conservation programs. (The text of that column is also archived at the end of this post.)

Cap and trade is merely the Ontario government’s new all-fuels tax dressed in a cloak of green. Continue reading ‘Cap and Tirade’ »

Guest Post by Bernard Lahey on Muskrat Falls

Retired senior finance executive, Bernard Lahey, and I have been in conversation around issues raised in my recent interviews on VOCM radio in Newfoundland and Labrador about the implications of Muskrat Falls for NL’s sovereignty. Bernard has graciously provided comments for publication here as a guest post. Continue reading ‘Guest Post by Bernard Lahey on Muskrat Falls’ »

Debating Sovereignty Implications of Muskrat Madness

On Friday, Jan 13, I was a guest on VOCM radio’s “Open Line with Paddy Daly” in Newfoundland and Labrador

Paddy Daly’s style of talk radio assumes that his listeners are following the details of a wide array of complex stories on public policy and that Paddy can attract their attention to his show by testing his guests against his own views. Paddy is among the most well-informed independent authorities in Canada on the topic of Muskrat Falls.

He and I have spoken with each other frequently enough that he is very familiar with my weakest arguments. Quite properly, he focuses on those. Because of the expectation that his listeners are familiar with the background, Paddy will sometimes skip some details, although the intention behind his question is almost always clear. Particularly to assist those who might be new to the Muskrat story, I have added background notes for some of the comments in my exchange with Paddy. Continue reading ‘Debating Sovereignty Implications of Muskrat Madness’ »