Powerful Dishonesty Meets Dim Journalism

In the National Post newspaper August 17, 2010, Diane Francis purports to interview the Ontario Power Authority’s CEO Colin Andersen (“Energy conservation is a smart strategy“). In the interview’s title and introduction, the OPA’s initiatives are described as “smart”. In the interview, Ms. Francis lobs questions like “How do you help consumers?” and does not pursue any of the twisted and in some cases dishonest claims made by Andersen. According to the OPA, roof top solar subsidies help consumers and Ontario’s electricity prices “are competitive when you look to American states”.

The claim that roof top solar helps consumers is like claiming that government-organized agricultural cartels help consumers because some consumers happen to own chicken, egg, or milk quotas. The price the OPA is paying for roof top solar is more than 10 times the commodity price consumers currently pay. Although a few consumers will have subsidized solar investments, most do not yet all consumers will pay substantially more for electricity to fund solar subsidies.

Although a declining handful of U.S. states still have residential power rates higher than Ontario, Ontario’s average prices not including the HST now exceed the U.S. average price by 14.7%. This calculation is based on weighted average prices using data from the OEB current to July 2010 not including the HST, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration data for the 50 contiguous U.S. states for the period Jan-May 2010, and using the currency exchange rate at the end of July. Residential power rates in the U.S. peaked in 2009 and have declined 1.3% on a year to date basis while Ontario’s prices have increased.

(Post script: IBM appears to be the sponsor of the above noted article. IBM’s business in Ontario includes a contract worth over $40 million to develop and operate smart meter data systems.)


  1. Why is it that whenever the price of anything the government is involved with those that are at the trough always jump up and say prices “are competitive when you look to American states”. Well we don’t live in America, China or Timbuktu for that matter. The price of rice is cheaper in China, the price of gasoline cheaper in Venezuela, and tea cheaper in India. What does that got to do with what we pay? If Colin Anderson were to say anything at all (the truth) about the Liberal energy policy then he would be out on his kisser quicker than you can say windmill because some smarmy little man( poorly elected official) lusting for power and recognition would jumpy up an say “he cant say that” at the prodding of a wind-farm lobbyist. What we pay for energy is too high period and the green act will do nothing but ensure much higher prices, much higher taxes, less green energy (remember for ever 3 mw of wind capacity built, one mw of gas/coal/nuclear has to be built, no wind no power),many many ruined lives and communities and politicians and quick buck artist out the door with our loot.

  2. When Mr. Andersen, as a former deputy minister of energy and CEO of the OPA, says Ontario’s power prices are competitive with “American states”, he can only be speaking about a cherry picked few. His general statement is incorrect.

    I disagree with Mr. Brooks’s statement that one unit of nuclear capacity has to be built for every unit of wind capacity. Wind and nuclear compete for the same generation niche on the grid.

    I am not comfortable with the claim that wind power is ruining people’s lives, let alone ruining many people’s lives. Wind power, inappropriately implemented, can be harmful to society’s general welfare, and in extremely inappropriately implemented cases might even cause people to feel they have to move, but the claim that wind power is ruining many people’s lives is not something I see evidence for.

  3. Tom, There may not be overwhelming numbers of affected residents right now;but the numbers are significant, and the effects are real. A proper epidemiological study is needed before more are erected.
    An accurate survey of how many people have been displaced by wind turbine projects would be interesting. We do know that 6 houses in the Amaranth/Melanthon complex (133 turbines) were bought out by Canadian Hydro. The post construction noise reports found actual noise levele well above compliance level – that’s why they settled, not from deep seated feeling of generosity. If the wind turbines are so benign, why do the companies seek “good neighbour” leases with non-participating residents – with gag clauses.

  4. I could use some advice.

    My fiance is working for a marketing company in Ontario, selling 20-year solar panel contracts to industrial building owners. It’s all part of the OPA’s FIT program.

    He has faced some rude customers lately who are calling the FIT program a scam. Why are they saying this? And are their concerns legitimate?


  5. Katie,

    When folks think of a scam, we often think of characters like Ken Lay or Bernie Madoff, criminals that come to your door to steal from you. In the case of the FIT program, the salesman coming to your door is working on a government subsidy program that steals from the neighbours every time another FIT project goes on line. The FIT program is so ugly underneath that as folks understand it more, I would worry that your fiance might face increasing trouble. The 18% rate increase so far this year is going to start educating folks about FIT. Not all of the 18% is due to FIT, but most of the next 47% by 2015 will be due to FIT.


  6. Pingback: Ontario Power Agencies Failing Consumers: Examining the IESO | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

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