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Ontario’s expensive electricity week: what could $44M have bought?

What the lost $44 million could have bought: 293 family docs, 580 nurse practitioners
What the lost $44 million could have bought: 293 family docs, 580 nurse practitioners

Blowing Ontario’s ratepayer dollars

Money lost in just one week could have paid for 580 nurses

So far this October, Ontario’s electricity sector has been blowing our money away at an awesome pace.

Scott Luft, whom I admire for his ability to assimilate comprehensible data, posted on Tumblr some disturbing information about the first 10 days of electricity production (and curtailed production) in Ontario.  Because the fall means low demand for electricity, our current surplus energy supply (principally, wind, solar and gas) was curtailed to the extent that it cost ratepayers $20 million, while the HOEP (hourly Ontario energy price) generated only $8.2 million.  That $20 million of curtailment cost will find its way to the Global Adjustment (GA) pot and onto ratepayers’ bills.

I took a different route and looked at the cost of Ontario’s exports for the week of October 3rd to October 9th —those numbers are also disturbing.  During those seven days, Ontario exported 399,048 MWh (megawatt hours) which was 15.7% of total Ontario demand.   Wind turbines generated and delivered 184,204 MWh, which was surplus to our needs and probably exported.  The money generated via the HOEP from all of the export sales was $56,300 or 14 cents a MWh.  Wind turbines produced just $15,164 and we sold that production for just 8 cents a MWh.

To put this in perspective, the exported production’s cost all-in (contract value per MWh + regulatory + transmission + debt retirement charge) averaged $110/MWh, according to the latest monthly IESO Market Summary August 2014 report’s findings.  Using $110/MWh the 399,000 MWh exported in those seven days hit Ontario’s ratepayers with about $44 million (less the $56,300) via allocation to the GA—that will show up on the electricity line on our bills.

Wind generation alone at the contracted rate of $135/MWh cost ratepayers $24,900,000 plus another $5 to $6 million for their curtailed production, according to Scott Luft.  That $30 to $31 million plus the cost of steaming off Bruce Nuclear, paying idling gas plants, etc., and the additional cost of solar generation, would confirm the $44 million is a reasonable estimate.

What has Ontario missed out on by having ratepayers subsidizing those exports by $44 million for those seven days?

  •  the annual salary of 293 family physicians, or
  • 580 nurse practitioners, or
  • repairing all the Toronto District School Board’s school roofs, or
  • one and a half days of interest on Ontario’s public debt, or
  •  all of Ontario’s 301 MPP salaries for a full year, or
  • 40 MRI machines, or
  • 100 months of mortgage payments on the empty MaRS Phase 2 building, or
  • increasing funding for autistic children by 30% over current levels.

Just a few examples of how the wasted subsidy money that cost each Ontario ratepayer $10 for just one week could have been used!

© Parker Gallant

October 13, 2014

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent Wind Concerns Ontario policy.

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