Gas Busters Part 5: Ding dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead, Electricity Moratorium Now

The leader of Ontario’s minority government has resigned in a controversy over electricity. But even as he walks away, the mess he created is getting worse by the day.

All major electricity projects in Ontario that can be delayed without severe penalty must be frozen immediately.

Moratorium now.

Public concern about the gas plant issue is the straw that has brought down the government. McGuinty is trying to blame the opposition for resisting his public sector wage control plan, but that is just a red herring to cover his get away. McGuinty is trying to dodge testifying about the gas fiasco. Bloviating about caring for future generations, his actions are designed to conceal the costs he has imposed on future ratepayers.

Even the most stalwart Liberals must be able to see that if McGuinty has a shred of concern about the future of our province left in him, he will use the vast executive powers he has granted himself, using those powers to bring down a sweeping moratorium on spending any more money or entering into any more commitments on electricity infrastructure.

Ontario’s official electricity cover-ups have been so deep and pervasive, that consumers do not know what we are on the hook for. We don’t even have an official forecast for what we will pay for electricity next year, much less the year after that. We have enough information to know that Ontario will have the highest rates of any jurisdiction in contiguous North America by next year and that the pace of rate increases will accelerate dramatically in 2014 and 2015.

We don’t know how much we must pay for big, big commitments already carved in stone — like the Oakville and Mississauga gas plant moves. With McGuinty’s decision to prorogue the Legislature, the only investigation into what brought the government down is Gas Busters.

To all Gas Busters out there, we have work to do.

The Legislature is not being allowed to work. Citizens must either take up this responsibility or suffer the consequences.

The TransCanada Energy, Oakville and Eastern Power, Mississauga plants had some potential contribution to offer consumers when they were located in the Western GTA. Located on the periphery of the grid, those plants can provide virtually no contribution to consumers. Almost zero. Yet, they will impose billions of dollars of cost over time. If we knew how many billions, we wouldn’t need the Gas Busters series. When all the analysis is complete, we may discover that the recontracted plants, now committed for Sarnia and Kingston, can be cancelled a second time and still reduce the impact on consumers.

Moratorium now.

Stop the wind turbines, the solar panels, the phoney conservation programs, the transmission “enabler” lines, the gas plants, the nuclear refurbishment deals, the smart grid, the Mattagami expansion, repowering Atikokan GS, gassing Thunder Bay GS, and the East-West Tie. The masses of busy work for bureaucrats going on should stop, including restructuring distribution utilities, merging the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), and developing “incentive regulation” plans for Crown Corporations.

Ontario ratepayers need qualified independent experts to figure out what elements of our existing commitments provide value and what do not. We need the provincial Auditor General’s help. We need independent teams of transmission engineers. We need economists to measure which conservation programs waste  and which win. We need help from gas dispatch planners, nuclear refurbishment engineers, and contract law specialists. All these experts and more must be mandated to operated in an environment of transparency. The objective of their work should be to present and defend a balanced view of the public trust.

The Legislature needs time to change the laws. For starters, we need to restore independence and integrity to the Ontario Energy Board, IESO, and OPA. The Green Energy Act needs to be replaced. We need to bring back real Environmental Assessment. Re-writing the relevant legislation needs a new vision.

Between now and the next election, the people of Ontario need to debate our electricity future. More government ownership or less? How do we mitigate the massive rate impact coming over the next 3 years? How do we retool agencies like the IESO and OPA so that consumers don’t get the worst end of every bargain? Should we have a market for electricity or should government set the price? Should we keep the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (10% off residential bills paid for by the next generation of taxpayers)?

After the next election, the new government will have to decide all of these issues and more. The quality of the debate that citizens have before the next election will have profound impacts on electricity consumers generations into the future.

(Note to readers: My practice with this post departs from previous practice on this site. With all other posts, they appear exactly or almost exactly as first posted, with any substantive changes noted as postscripts. This post is an ongoing work in progress.)



  1. Thank you for this posting Tom.
    It is much too convenient for McGuinty to just try to disappear. He needs to be brought before a judicial panel to investigate any improprieties. He still has to testify as requested before the committee dealing with ORNGE.
    I also suspect that he senses having made a mess of the GEA, and we must not allow him to just go into hiding. He needs to be brought before a judicial panel to answer things like:
    – why 550m setback
    – why ignore the health issue
    – why ignore the property value issue
    – why prevent municipalities from being involved in planning
    – why ignore the ineefficiency of wind turbines, ie the gas back up
    – why implement large scale energy expenditure at a fixed price contrary to rules for procurement
    – why prorogue parliament, because now the process of democracy is stopped.
    – why, why and the list goes on…
    When will there be a motion to disolve this government and call an election?

  2. This is a day when Ontario Citizens can take a “collective deep breath” and ponder on what has happened in the past 9 years to this Province under a mismanaged and destructive Government’s dismantling of our once affordable Energy Sector.
    Of course there are many other destructive agendas that have taken place in this Province under McGuinty’s “massive spending binges” literally leaving this Province clinging to almost a total financial and social collapse!

    We collectively must take control of our destiny and demand any future political alliances have nothing but the “people;s interests” as their first priority.

    God help the next prospective leadership if they even remotely attempt to continue down this “road to ruin” which can be summed up in 3 words, “Green Energy Act”!

    We need immediately a “moratorium” on all electrical projects as Tom has stated quite clearly, and re-instatement of a Democratic process within all 444 Municipal Councils that will allow them to have power over what is developed within their community that will affect their community!

    That in itself will be a good start on getting us “back on track” to being a “Have Province” instead of a complete “basket case”, which WE are now!

  3. To thebigreenlie,

    Well put, you are right on the mark. Good riddance McGuinty and your stupid green energy act, which hurt so many people in this beautiful Province. Your legacy will be that of a “Dictator”, you should be tried in a court of law for the many
    people that you have hurt in this Province.

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