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.

The Tom McConnell Show (CKTB) May 25 9:06 for about 10 minutes

Summary of the government’s proposal and the Financial Accountability Officer assessment.

Kindergarden financial arithmetic, that even the Minister of Finance should be able to grasp, illustrates the cost consequences of putting the running cost of the power system on the credit card increases overall costs.

The legislation hasn’t passed yet. There was no guiding mind behind the legislation. There must be back benchers within the Liberal caucus who can understand the need to withdraw this embarrassing legislation.

Too many in the print media have swallowed the government’s claim that power costs are being “refinanced”. Not true. Nothing in the government’s plan changes any of the costs underpinning rising power costs.

There are lots of things in Ontario’s electricity situation that are complex and will require professional help to sort out, but this pay-now-pay-later plan is not complicated, just stupid and irresponsible. The government should simply withdraw their junk legislation. Stop digging the hole deeper.

Craig Needles Show (AM980) May 25 about 2 minutes into the show for about 10 minutes

Both the Financial Accountability Officer and the Auditor General have comprehensively rebuked the government’s power rate deferral nonsense. The only responsible course for the government is to withdraw this careless legislation. The “Fair Hydro Plan” is just foolish. Borrowing money to pay power rates illustrates the extent of the electricity crisis. We already have enough electricity debt already, no more is needed. There is a path to start reducing the underlying cost of power but that will take hard profession work. This government is out of ideas and not competent to manage such a changes. We need an election to breathe fresh air into the province’s power problems, but the first step is to withdraw this bad legislation. The legislation is written in crayon. The opposition is properly concerned about the legislation, and showing some signs of being more effective than previously in challenging the government.

Anthony Furey on National Post Radio

The Ontario government’s electricity plan is simple-minded folly authored, not with reason, but with panic. Borrowing to pay energy bills is not a plan. The reports of the FAO and AG have the tone of explaining simple financial arithmetic to children. The FAO explains that borrowing costs money and the AG explains that you can’t create assets out of thin air. This is kindergarden analysis, but the government doesn’t seem to understand what they are doing. Ontario has a political problem with electricity, where all the major parties have turned to rate freezes. The legacy of gross negligence has caught up with us. The best that can be hoped for with this government is that they withdraw their careless energy cost borrowing plan. Grappling with the underlying causes of Ontario’s power problems will require professional help, including restoring the capacity of public agencies. Patrick Brown should declare himself on solutions for the underlying problems. The PCs should have capitalized on the government’s electricity incompetence long ago.