Cut Conservation Con, Save Half a Billion Dollars per Year

Following up on my previous post drawing attention to wasteful conservation programs, I am getting asked whether cutting conservation programs can actually help consumers.

As discussed in a previous exchange on this site, here are some of the components of conservation costs Ontario taxpayers and ratepayers are covering:

Regulated electricity distribution utilities in 2012: $136.2 million
OPA program spending in F2012: $301.1 million
Ministry of Energy home audit and retrofit from 2007-2012: $564 million

What do we get for this expenditure of over half a billion dollars per year (other than “green jobs” in government agencies and greasy contractors)?

Look at where some of this money goes.

The OPA has a coupon program that gives discounts on compact fluorescent light bulbs, a program identical to one offered by the old Ontario Hydro more than 20 years ago. Would the customer participating in the program have bought the bulb without the program? How much of the consumption change in electricity going on is due to drastic price increases and official promises of more exciting increases in future? Does the new bulb replace a less efficient bulb? Does the customer leave the new, more efficient light on longer than the old bulb? The OPA claims to know the answers for all these questions and has vast, vast amounts of documentation to paper over the inherent uncertainty of measuring the effectiveness of paying people to not use electricity.

Respect ratepayers, cut the conservation con.


  1. NPR, Aug.8, 2012
    “Energy-Efficient Lightbulbs May Have Dark Side When It Comes To Health”
    Tiny defects in CFLs can let through UV light that can damage skin and cause cancer.
    Then there is the breakage problem with mercury contamination and land fill disposal problems.
    CFLs were also created so that poor countries could use them for carbon credits.
    Has anyone in the government ever mentioned these health issues to the public?
    There are cost issues for the poor to be able to afford CFLs.

  2. Pingback: ON's electricity conservation programs cost $100/yr/household | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

Comments are closed.