Green Poverty: Gordon Miller’s Energy Vision

Gordon Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, is blackening his office, shilling for the McGuinty government’s now dying Green Energy Act.

On July 21st, Miller issued a press release decrying the government’s decision to reduce rates paid to ground-mounted solar developers. Having not participated in the review process underpinning the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) decisions that pegged the value of power from small solar developments at the outrageous price of 80.2 cents/kWh, Miller used the powers of investigation given to him by the Environmental Bill of Rights, to demand that the OPA disclose the financial details it used to calculate then proposed lower price. The continued ground-mounted solar gold rush after the price decrease proves that the new price is still profitable.

On September 30th, Miller told TVO viewers that fact that the government of Japan has complained about the protectionist aspects of the Green Energy Act proves that the policy is a success, attracting international attention, and not harming Ontario’s industrial economy.

On November 9th, he launched a moral crusade at an Ontario Energy Network conference to save the Green Energy Act, citing the Lutheran theologian martyred by Hitler’s Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In his speech, Miller pleaded with the energy industry to explain to consumers that rates are not skyrocketing. In his analysis, he ignored all the elements of the bill that are skyrocketing, including transmission charges, distribution charges, and Ontario Power Authority fees. He ignored completely the rate trajectory in the near future as the new solar and wind supplies come into service.

On November 15th, Miller was cited by Energy Minister Duguid in the Legislature as an “expert on these issues”, attacking the Ontario Conservative leader Mr. Hudak for recommending that consumers be given choices as to whether they want to be billed for their consumption on the basis of fluctuating time of use or flat rates for the commodity portion of the power bills.

The environmental protection principles embedded in the Green Energy Act do not value local democracy, environmental assessment, or independent regulation granting citizens rights to due process. Miller obviously does not value the rights taken away by the Green Energy Act.

The Green Energy Act is an engine of poverty and weakens Canada’s standing as a trading nation. It destroys the underpinnings of financial prudence in the power sector. Until the Green Energy Act is killed, there is no limit to how high electricity prices might rise in Ontario.

Even if cost was no object, it is not at all clear that the Green Energy Act will benefit the natural environment significantly. We know the Green Energy Act will impose environmental losses. New transmission lines will disturb habitats. Wind farms sited in important bird and bat habitats appear to be seriously damaging some sensitive species. Hydro-electric developments can have significant negative impacts on riparian environments. The back-up power required to support renewable development will be environmentally significant.

Gordon Miller does not understand that environmental protection priorities need to compete with society’s other priorities. Ontario’s environment can only be effectively protected if the conservation and preservation measures we pursue can sustain public confidence in the long run.

Citizens in Ontario should be concerned that our Environmental Commissioner has sacrificed his independence and would lead us into green poverty.


  1. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Miller in the past – back when he recognized the electricity sector was contributing less than 10% of our total GHG emissions, and was noting the government’s obsession with the coal issue was making it lose focus on transportation, and especially public transit.

    I think its now fair to assume we are seeing he price he agreed to pay for another 5 years in his office. He has become an excellent argument for keeping all these auditor, and ombudsman, type positions to a single term.

  2. From my limited perspective, both he and Andre Marin have been like docile puppies since McGuinty let them keep their jobs.

    The very first thing Marin did once he was reinstated was to drop the issue of wind turbine intrusion into rural Ontario. You really do have to wonder.

  3. “environmental protection principles embedded in the Green Energy Act”

    And what exactly would those be?

    I have read and re-read the GEA and its attendant regulations. I was able to glean nothing from these that afforded ANY protection to the environment -quite the contrary!

    As soon as “green energy” is industrialized it ceases to be green. One would think this obvious!

    Gord Miller is expert on NEITHER energy NOR environment. His expertise is in dishonesty and obfuscation! He is nothing more then a commissioner of corruption!

    His very image makes me nauseous!

    Sean Holt.

  4. There is basically not one department left in Ontario that has any ethics or honourable behaviour that once used to protect Citizens from fraudulent behaviour by Politicians!

    We are all basically on our own now and must begin to establish rules and regulations that will protect ourselves from our very own Public Servants!

  5. In 1996 my hydro bill had two line items, power consumed at 9.6 cents/kwh and tax.

    Today it has the energy charge, a “line inefficiency” scam charge, plus the distribution, charge, debt retirement charge, a scam regulatory charge and of course the HST. These charges gross up the electricity (generation charge) by just short of 2.2 times.

    This means that the scam solar PV program, where generators are paid $0.80/kwh, when this is delivered to my door it actually costs $1.70 per kwh. My hydro bill under this program, if ubiquitous would be a mere $2,100 per month or over 12 times my current payable.

    Is McGuilty completely crazy? Did Gord Miller graduate with a major degree in stupidity and a minor one in ignorance?

    Nice Green program – oh yes, Ontario will be green, all the people and industry will have departed returning it to the wild state from pre-mankind.

    These guys have got to go.

    • Great Blue,

      I understand the frustration but your math is wonky. 80 cents/kWh is an outrageous abuse of consumers but it is a small fraction of the total supply. All of the line items that are on your bill today, except the PST portion of the HST, were on your bill before although they were buried. All of the charges are calculated independently of the energy charge, so increasing the energy charge will not drive the other components higher.


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