Summary of Appearance: Craig Needles Show, June 27 10:35 am

Here is a rough summary of my appearance on the Craig Needles Show, AM980 London Ontario, June 27 10:35 am.

A podcast will be available here for the next couple of days:

Q: What to expect from the new Ford gov’t on power?

An: The electricity file will be a defining challenge for the new Ford gov’t. The last gov’t left us with a legacy of high rates yet rates not collecting the full cost of power. Ford has promised to fire the board of Hydro One, to further cut electricity rates in addition to Wynne’s artificial reductions, and to eliminate the Green Energy Act.

Q: Ford has promised to fire the Hydro One board and CEO. How is that going to work?

An: There will be no ratepayer benefit. Ford inappropriately referred to the CEO of Hydro One as a “crook”. The actual track record of the H1 CEO in recent years has been quite favourable. Now that he is off the campaign trail and into governing, Mr. Ford needs to be more careful with his remarks.

Q: What is the impact of cutting Cap and Trade?

An: Cap and Trade and electricity are interlinked because the carbon revenue to government is funding power rate relief. Cap and Trade has also funded the Green Ontario Fund, where the subsidy recipients have complained about its disappearance, but that is a much smaller financial flow than funding rate relief. Ford has committed to eliminate Cap and Trade while eliminating the deficit and cutting rates 12% below the artificially low Wynne price. “You can immediately see the problem.”

Q: What can Ford do to manage power cost?

An: “There is a positive path forward.” The new government needs to focus on auditing everything within the power file that the Liberal government touched. Where did the missing tens of billions of dollars go? Who benefited? What were the circumstances of those gigantic financial transfers? Once we have some facts on the table, the conversation can focus on more constructive solutions.

Ontario’s Auditor General has done outstanding work on the power file, particularly since 2011. The new government needs to use that work as a foundation for an end-to-end analysis of the power file. We need to know what value we got for money claimed to be spent on “Smart Grid”, “Smart Meters”, conservation programs, and outrageous payments to renewable generators. We need to look at contracts for renewable generation let even during the writ period. The Liberals appears to have been acting worse than mere negligence. “There are a lot of rocks to turn over to find what is squiggling underneath.”

Q: Doesn’t that make sense for Ford to uncover the legacy?

A: One of the strengths of democracy is that every once in a while, we have the opportunity to put our dirty laundry out, see all the stains, and try to learn from our mistakes. But Ford must undertake the required fact-finding early in his mandate otherwise, he will be blamed for what is coming. The electricity file brought down the last three premiers of Ontario. Ford doesn’t want to be next.

Q: What should be the first thing the premier does?

A: Audit, audit and more audit. “There are so many missing billions. We need to know what happened?”