The Electricity Landscape Has Changed for the Worse…Literally and Fiscally

Posted on: January 14, 2015         Share This:

In the beginning, the Green Energy Act and Green Economy Act had some real appeal…using ‘free’ resources like wind and sun to generate electricity. So far, so good. To kickstart the program, the Province instructed the Ontario Power Authority to offer incentives to generators that all rate-payers would share in paying for the incentives. That’s when the appeal started to dissipate. Never mind that 550 foot or about 180 metre high windmills seem like a blight on the landscape; never mind that thousands of bats and birds are killed every year by flying into the rotating blades, never mind that hundreds of hectares of arable land are taken out of production by solar panels; never mind that a few owners may benefit financially from the intrusion on their property while the rest of the neighbours and the municipality have to live with the unsightly consequences; never mind that wind and solar are unavailable for much of the time the electricity system needs them the most; and worst of all the rate consequence in the form of the Global Adjustment is overtaking the Electricity Cost (all forms of generation) on customers’ bills.

What does Government do? It sets up conservation and demand management programs so that customers can use less electricity and recently it assists companies with some leverage like Honda to invest millions of dollars to stay in Ontario. No doubt, this is to soften the blow caused by electricity rate increases.

Besides the so-called ‘green and free’ aspects of these types of generation, the Green Energy Act was sold as a good job-generator. However, once the generation is in place and the construction workers have gone away, who is left to maintain the generation? Someone to sweep up dead bats and birds and someone to scrape the snow off the solar panels! Not my idea of highly paid, rewarding work.

What should rate-payers do now that they paying some of the highest rates in North America? For residents, take advantage of every conservation device or program available. For businesses, look at every aspect of your operations.

One recently publicized example is Tenneco in Cambridge, Ontario. They undertook a lighting retrofit and saved $1M in electricity costs.

Another option for businesses…give Utility Advocates Inc. a call. We can analyze all of your utility bills at no out of pocket cost and then you can decide how you wish to proceed. It’s always worth the call.

Wayne Taggart