Here is a podcast from News 1310 Carol Anne Meehan show with an interview she did with Water Wells First Kevin Jakubec of Dover Township on the effect wind turbines have had on the groundwater and local wells for homes and farms.
His group is reacting to three years of disturbed wells, due to nearby wind turbines. The wind power developer has offered bottled water to residents … not much help for farm owners with livestock.
Water Wells First has demanded the resignation of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray.
No one is forced to have wind turbines on their land, and communities shouldn’t be forced to have them, either.
Ontario Farmer, May 17, 2016
By Jane Wilson and Warren Howard
Recently, a Mitchell, Ont. resident wrote to Ontario Farmer saying that the wind turbine siting process seems fair to him: “no one [has been] forced to have a wind turbine.”
We beg to differ: with almost 2,600 industrial-scale wind turbines now operating or under construction, the fact is thousands of Ontario residents have been forced to live with wind turbines, without any effective say in the matter.
The decision to host wind turbines should not rest with the few individuals who lease land for the project, but also with the entire community; many people can be affected by this decision.
The Green Energy Act of 2009 removed local land-use planning for wind power projects, at the same time as it overrode 21 pieces of democratically passed pieces of legislation, including the Planning Act, the Heritage Act, the Environmental Bill of Rights — even the Places to Grow Old Act.
Can’t say NO
The result is a process in which citizens and their elected governments now have no “say” whatsoever. Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli said this past March that it would be “virtually impossible” for a power developer to get a contract in a community that did not support turbines, but that’s exactly what happened.
Even a community that held a formal referendum, in which 84 per cent of residents said “no” to wind power, is now being forced to have turbines.
Compare this to the procedures for other forms of development: they are relatively open, in which the community is presented with detailed information and opportunities to comment on the type and scope of development proposed.
The opposite is true for industrial-scale wind power projects. Municipalities are asked for support with very little information on environmental, economic, or social impacts. In some cases, where the developer has determined formal municipal support is unlikely, the company simply files a document saying it “tried” to get municipal support but failed — the truth is, municipalities will meet with anyone. Failure to meet on such an important project should be a red flag to contracting authorities about the nature of the development and the degree of opposition to it.
The public information meetings held by developers often occur after municipal support is requested. A paper produced by a team of academics published this year termed these meetings “dog-and-pony shows” which is an indication of how much real information is offered.
Municipal support must be mandatory
Wind Concerns Ontario submitted a series of recommendations to the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO) on the contracting process, which included: a requirement that all documents related to the project should be released prior to any public meeting or municipal consultation; the precise location of turbines must be revealed as well as a broader set of site considerations; there must be a process through which municipal government, community groups and individuals can comment on these documents and their accuracy; and last, municipal support must be a mandatory requirement of any contract bid.
It may be true as the letter writer suggests: no one is forced to have a turbine on their own property, but communities and neighbours should not be forced to have them either.
Before people sign for lease turbines, they need to talk to their neighbours (because the whole community will be affected by the decision to lease) and learn from the experiences in other communities where turbines are operating. They may discover that the small lease payments offered are not worth the impact on the community, and on their friends and neighbours.
The fact is, wind turbines result in high impact on communities for very little benefit. The Ontario government needs to respect the right of Ontario citizens to make decisions on wind power developments for themselves.
Jane Wilson is president of Wind Concerns Ontario. Warren Howard is a former municipal councillor for North Perth.
OTTAWA WIND CONCERNS NOTE: The City of Ottawa is among the 59 municipalities to date which have passed resolutions demanding that municipal support be a mandatory requirement for wind power contracts.
While Ottawa’s Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Energy, insists that paying high and selling low is a good economic strategy (meanwhile inflicting dramatic increases in bills to consumers), economic analysts don’t seem to agree. Here from Forbes. com is a view of Ontario’s handling of the electricity sector.
Ontario’s high electricity prices are bad for business
Jude Clemente, Forbes/Energy, March 30, 2016
“Ontario is probably the worst electricity market in the world,” Pierre-Olivier Pineau, University of Montreal
Ontario’s auditor general just reported that the province paid an extra $37 billion for electricity from 2006-2014, likely the most ludicrous energy story that I’ve ever read (here). Ontario has gone from having some of the most affordable electricity in North America to having some of the most expensive. From 2013-2015 alone, industrial electricity rates increased 16%.
In 2003, the provincial government decided to phase-out coal-fired generation by 2007 (later extended to 2014), perhaps the most cost effective source of power.
This necessitated investment in new sources of electricity. For example, more expensive wind has provided less than 4% of Ontario’s power but accounts for 20% of the cost of electricity. In January, Ontario Power Generation unveiled plans for a $13 billion refurbishment of four nuclear reactors, which could crush ratepayers to recover the total costs.
Earth Hour 2016 is tomorrow, March 19, 2016 from 8.30 PM to 9.30 PM when all the world is encouraged to turn off their lights for an hour of symbolic action. Specifically the goal is: “Earth Hour aims to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.”
This is an admirable objective – everyone wants to do their best for the environment – but the truth is, much depends on how sustainability is positioned by politicians.
In Ontario the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) noted in a 45 page report dated December 22, 2014: “Using LIM1. as a measuring tool, and relying on Statistics Canada household data, Ontario has 713,300 low-income households. The OESP is estimated to reach 571,000. This estimate recognizes that not all low-income households in the province pay their electricity bills directly (i.e., utilities included in rent).”That report led to the introduction of the OESP or Ontario Electricity Support Program start-up on January 1, 2016, expected to cost between $175 and $225 million, paid for by those 3.9 million households who don’t qualify for the OESP.
So did the Ontario government simply not understand creation of the Green Energy & Green Economy Act (GEA) would result in so many low-income households? It is now apparent the advent of the GEA played a major role, by raising the cost of the production of electricity by well over 70% since its enactment. The push for renewables in the form of industrial wind turbines, solar panels, etc., which require back-up from gas plants due to the intermittent and unreliable nature of renewables, added billions in costs. The transmission builds to bring wind and solar power to the grid added billions more and, coupled with the other billions spent trying to convince us to conserve, added even more costs.
The addition of almost 10,000 MW (so far) of renewable generation at prices over market impacted disposable income for all Ontarians living at, or close to, minimum wage and for many others living on fixed incomes. The other result of adding renewable power is that Ontario is now in the position of having surplus power generated at the wrong time of the year and night when demand is low. This surplus must be either sold off (exported), curtailed (wind and solar) or steamed-off (nuclear). Additionally, ratepayers and taxpayers are charged for the ideasNB: related to conservation such as paying for grants for electric vehicles and their charging stations.
March 13, 2016 is an example: it was a day when the sun shone and the wind was blowing. Ontario demand was low reaching only 320,000 megawatt hours (MWh) while generation, coupled with curtailed wind, idling gas plants, spilled hydro and even curtailed solar along with all of the distribution connected (Dx) power (principally wind and solar) was about 463,000 Mwh2.. Ontario’s ratepayers needed only 68% of that 463,000 MWh, so the other 32% was either exported or curtailed (to avoid blackouts) while being billed to Ontario ratepayers. Production costs (without the other items tossed into the “Global Adjustment pot) were over $100/per MWh, meaning the 143,000 MWh surplus picked ratepayers’ pockets for more than $14 million or $2.85 per ratepayer for just one day. (Bob Chiarelli, our Minister of Energy, would probably say that was just the cost of a “Timmies”!)
In 2015, Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, said Earth Hour “Every passing year it becomes more infectious. It’s actually really doing what it intended to do, which is to get into the popular culture.”
Minister Murray should note we have turned off the lights, not because we want to but because we can’t afford to “keep them on.”
It appears to this Ontario ratepayer that what is really “infectious” is the Ontario government’s ability to create “energy poverty” for hundreds of thousands of Ontario’s households and, instead of promoting sustainability, it has instead driven many to a situation where they now have to decide whether to “heat or eat”.
Hardly the lofty goal that Earth Hour aspires to, and clearly not what well-meaning citizens wanted to happen.
Wind gets first-to-the-grid (which we pay for) meaning spilled or wasted hydro (which we also pay for). [Photo: OPG]
OPG spills hydro and $150 million goes “down the drain”
OPG released their 2015 annual report Friday March 4, 2016; it confirms that 3.2 terawatts (TWh) of water that could have been used for power was spilled last year. (This is similar to the spilled amount in 2014 year.)
How much is 3.2 TWh? Enough to supply about 350,000 average Ontario households with electricity for a full year … but it didn’t!
Here is what OPG’s annual report had to say:
“Baseload generation supply surplus to Ontario demand continued to be prevalent in 2015. The surplus to the Ontario market is managed by the IESO, mainly through generation reductions at hydroelectric and nuclear stations and grid connected renewable resources. Reducing hydroelectric production, which often results in spilling of water, is the first measure that the IESO uses to manage surplus baseload generation (SBG) conditions. During each of 2015 and 2014, OPG lost 3.2 TWh of hydroelectric generation due to SBG conditions.”
The principal reason we have surplus baseload is due to wind and solar being granted “first to the grid” rights. And, because wind and solar are intermittent (and unreliable) OPG is forced to spill clean renewable hydro power.
While spilling hydro in itself is disturbing in Ontario, especially considering our hydro-electric history, the fact we are now obliged to pay for the spilled hydro at the same time we are paying wind developers 13.5 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh) and solar generators as much as 80 cents a kWh simply adds more costs to our monthly hydro bills.
OPG received $47 million per TWh (4.7 cents/kWh) for the spilled hydro. That means electricity ratepayers’ pockets were picked for over $150 million, or about $31.00 per ratepayer. Our reward for absorbing that cost was zero.
This month, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, will likely announce that Ontario will add even more intermittent, unreliable wind and solar generation. Your pockets are not safe yet.
Set Limits on Queen’s Park’s Power over Electricity Market
“It is remarkable that the expenditure of billions of dollars can be made with the stroke of a pen with virtually no oversight.”
February 24, 2016 – The government of Ontario should move away from controlling electricity planning, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report. In “Learning from Mistakes: Improving Governance in the Ontario Electricity Sector,” author George Vegh argues that the government should face more checks and balances when spending electricity ratepayer money. The government should only set broad policy objectives and not make choices on which technologies and which suppliers should receive government contracts.
Over the last 10 years, the government has directed the expenditure of billions of dollars of public money on electricity projects with virtually no oversight or checks and balances. During this time, Ontario consumers have seen a large increase in electricity prices, with more to come.
“It is remarkable that the expenditure of billions of dollars can be made with the stroke of a pen with virtually no oversight,” commented Vegh.
In response to concerns about the rising cost of electricity and poor governance, most notably from the Auditor General’s report last December, the Ontario government has touted its proposed Bill 135 as the solution. However, far from solving the concerns about electricity-sector governance, the proposed Bill entrenches and expands the status quo and provides no role for oversight of government electricity directives.
The author proposes the following recommendations to improve the system:
Move away from a central planning model towards a locally based supply obligation that aligns accountability with responsibility.
Even if the government is to maintain its central role in setting outcomes, it can reduce its role in picking winners and losers. This requires increased reliance on market mechanisms, including requests for proposals, and capacity markets to meet operational and capacity needs based on demonstrable system requirements.
Vegh concluded: “Rather than extend and entrench the problems, Bill 135 should provide the opportunity to correct them.”
The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies. Widely considered to be Canada’s most influential think tank, the Institute is a trusted source of essential policy intelligence, distinguished by research that is nonpartisan, evidence-based and subject to definitive expert review.
For more information contact: George Vegh, Counsel, McCarthy Tétrault, and Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto Law School and Osgoode Hall Law School; 416-865-1904, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What would your family have done with the money you paid–and the government wasted on its green energy policy last year?
January 23, 2016
This “Op-Ed” appears in the current edition of Ontario Farmer. It is not available online.
Good money after bad: how mismanagement of Ontario’s power system affects you
By Parker Gallant
It’s been several months now since the Auditor General of Ontario released her 2015 report, in which she levelled scathing criticism of how the Ontario government has mismanaged the electricity sector. In what will be her last report to include the management of Hydro One because the government has partially privatized the electricity distributor, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk condemned the planning and policy implementation processes that have resulted in Ontario’s electricity consumers paying too much for power.
The report made specific mention of the fact that Ontario has a surplus of power, a situation that is likely to continue, if the government continues to give out expensive contracts for “renewable” power sources wind and solar, which provide only a small amount of Ontario’s power and then only intermittently.
The Auditor General said, “The Ministry’s attractive guaranteed prices program has been one of the main contributors to the surplus power situation Ontario has faced since 2009, in that it has procured too many renewable projects, too quickly, and at too high a cost.” The Auditor General’s office also found that Ontario paid “double the current average cost” in North America for wind power.
Her estimate was that Ontario’s electricity customers paid out $9.2 billion just for wind and solar contracts. Worst of all, perhaps, is the fact that Ontario is paying top dollar for renewables –and then selling the power at bargain bin prices—because of the power surplus.
Readers may recall that in most parts of Ontario, we had a very windy Christmas Eve. That breezy situation cost us plenty; because we are forced to buy wind power even when we don’t need it, wind power makes up a substantial portion of the surplus power we sell off. On Christmas Eve, that was about $9.4 million, which is not counting what we paid Bruce Nuclear to “steam off” power, or what we paid some wind power producers to limit or “curtail” power production.
What would your local hospital have done with even a small part of that $9.4 million?
What could Ontario have done with the $339 million the Auditor General says we paid for curtailing surplus electricity between 2009 and 2014?
What would you have done with the $360 extra you paid last year (assuming you use only 800 KwH per month of power)?
Renewable energy developers – and those who regulate them – need to be more sensitive to the concerns of residents who are going to have massive wind turbines built near them, a group of Canadian academics says.
In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Energy, the eight authors – six of whom are university professors or researchers – analyze why there is so much debate over the placement of wind turbines in Ontario.
Ontario has the greatest number of wind turbines of any province, and their construction has created considerable conflict between developers and those opposed to the installation of large industrial machinery in rural environments. Often these fights end up pitting neighbours against neighbours, and they can become big political battles at the municipal level.
Ontario has altered its rules since it first encouraged wind farms in its Green Energy Act in 2009, said Stewart Fast, a senior research associate at the University of Ottawa and one of the paper’s authors. But even though the new rules encourage more input from local governments and residents near proposed turbines, these changes haven’t been enough to stop the disputes, he said. …
Math lesson on power costs for Minister Bob Chiarelli: Parker Gallant
January 5, 2016
Open “Tongue in cheek” letter to:
The Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy, Queen’s Park, Toronto
Dear Minister Chiarelli:
First, I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Second, I hope you found the time to make it through the exercises I described in my recent letter so you now understand the difference between “profit” and “loss” in respect to the energy portfolio.
With that behind you, I believe it’s time for a second math lesson. We will again use the chart for November 12th, 2015 prepared by my friend Scott Luft. See below.
This lesson is focused on allowing you to understand how the cost per megawatt hour (MWh) by generating source can be calculated using the chart Scott prepared versus the IESO daily summary which is not at all as transparent as Scott’s.
Let’s start! Note the second portion of the chart with the subject line “IESO Transmission (Tx)”. The first heading “Nuclear” is a reflection of the generation source and on this day it provided 58.1% of all generation. How to get that calculation is simple. Look at the first line; add the “Ontario” column of the generation of 429,668 MWh to the 2nd line “est. Distribution (Dx)1.” giving you 447,177 MWh. Divide it into Nuclear total of 259,444 MWh and you get 58%! Including curtailed it becomes 61.8%.
Now let’s calculate the cost of each megawatt hour of Nuclear generation. We will include “est. Curtailed” in our calculations as it is generation that could have been delivered, but because IESO was concerned with the grid crashing it was “curtailed” i.e., not produced. Bruce Nuclear has the ability to “steam off” and that is what they were told to do, because wind/solar was generating too much power at a particular point in the day. Now the total of nuclear generation plus the curtailed (steamed off) nuclear is 276,301 MWh and that should be divided into the last line “Cost ($000s)” of $18.062 million —which demonstrates each MWh of nuclear cost $65.37/MWh. Still with me, I hope!
OK, so let’s calculate the cost per MWh for hydro: that was 86,965 MWh + est. Distribution (Dx) of 1,867 MWh and curtailed (spilled) of 208 MWh for a total of 89,040 MWh. Divide that into the “Cost” of $4.671 million and you will see the cost per MWh was $52.46. Hydro contributed 20.2% of Ontario’s total generation (ignoring curtailed generation) this day, so combined with nuclear those two sources generated or curtailed/steamed off 78.2% (365,341 MWh) of all electricity generated in the province, and 100.4% of total Ontario demand (refer IESO daily summary) of 363,960 MWh.
Hope you are paying attention Bob. Here’s why: our exercise up to now doesn’t include generation from wind, solar, gas, biomass or biofuel sources, yet they were were completely CO 2 free! Worth pondering, eh?
Now, time to look at costs of those other sources of generation. Let’s start with gas and its role in providing “peaking power”! On this day, gas provided 5.5% of Ontario generation (including “est. Distribution (Dx).” The calculation: 24,511 MWh divided by 447,177 MWh = 5.5%. The cost of those megawatt hours is simply: divide the “Cost” of $5.360 million by 24,511 MWh, giving a shocking total of $218.68/MWh!
Contracting for gas plants is to back up wind and solar generation when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine!
Here is an example that requires some math calculation so read this carefully before trying the calculations. Specifically let’s review the TransCanada 900-MW gas plant (planned but canceled) for Oakville (most of the $1.1 billion cost) and moved to Bath! The OPA contract (negotiated by the OPA) will pay them $15,000 per MW per month to be “at the ready.” The annual cost of the 900 MW is $162 million (900 MW X $15,000 X 12 = $162 million).
Bob, what the foregoing means is that if that plant produced just one (1) megawatt hour of electricity in a year, the cost would be $162 million.
Now let’s do a “what if” exercise: assume it will operate at 10% of rated capacity of 900 MW which means it will produce 788,400 MWh (10% X 900 MW X 8760 [hours in a year] = 788,400 MWh). Actual generation costs from the gas peaking plants are based on the cost of the natural gas fuel plus a small mark-up but we will ignore those latter two costs in the next calculation just to keep it simple. Here we go: if you divide the annual cost of $162 million by 788,400 MWh, your answer should be $205.50/MWh. Pretty expensive, eh?
The requirement to back up industrial wind turbines is old news as noted in a Memorandum submitted to the U.K. Parliament which stated: “Dr Paul Golby CEO of E.On UK, says 90% whilst Mr Rupert Steele of Scottish Power says, “Thirty Gigawatts of wind maybe requires twenty-five GW of backup.” In other words, that means, if you contract for 1,000 MW of industrial wind generation you need a 900 MW gas plant to “back-up” its capacity!
So, doing math is important: you can see that you are almost doubling up on the cost of producing a single MWh of electricity.
That brings us to the actual cost of wind generation on the chosen day in November.
On November 12, 2015 (refer to Scott Luft’s chart) wind produced 63,203 MWh, i.e., the lines “IESO Transmission (Tx)” + “est. Distribution (Dx)” equals 63,203 MWh. On this day wind produced 14.1% of Ontario’s generation at a cost of $153.55/MWh (based on the calculations applied above) —or at least this is what one would assume. That is an assumption you shouldn’t make though, Bob, and I will try to explain why. Adding curtailed wind production (13,500 MWh) to the 63,203 MWh produced would reduce the per MWh cost to $126.52/MWh, but, and it’s a big but—it doesn’t include gas back-up costs. Now pay attention!
The outstanding contracts for gas generation total about 9,000 MW of capacity and the contracts guarantee them (including the 2,100 MW of Lennox owned by OPG) a monthly price similar to the TransCanada contract mentioned above. So, knowing that, let’s assume the “average” contracted price is only $10,000 per MW per month. Bearing that in mind the backup for wind (solar to a lessor extent) is costing Ontario ratepayers $1.080 billion annually to be on “standby”! In other words, if they produced one (1) MWh in a year the cost would be $1,080,000,000. Shocking eh? If operated at 100% of rated capacity (which they can’t) they would produce almost 79 TWh (terawatts2.) or over 50% (9,000 MW X 8760 hours in a year) of Ontario’s annual consumption.
OK, now back to Scott’s chart of November 12 and let’s figure out the full cost. On November 12, gas generators operated at around 11.3% of capacity (79 TWh divided by 365 days in a year = 216,438 MWh and 24,511 MWh divided by 216,438 MWh = 11.3%). The cost of that day’s gas generation combined with wind generation would be $171.75/MWh, i.e., combined cost of $15,065,000 divided by combined generation of 87,714 MWh (ignore the curtailed generation) = $171.75/MWh. Now that cost coupled with the losses of $7.9 million from our exports of 74,352 MWh (cost of $108 per/MWh3.) Nov. 12th, produces a combined cost of $279.75/MWh or 4.3 times the cost of nuclear generation.
At this point, Bob, I hope you have grasped the math so I won’t go through the exercise for Scott’s other headings of biofuel, solar etc. I will leave you to work those out on your own.
I certainly hope this exercise gives you sufficient math skills to at least understand the basic steps you should go through before making either rash remarks or issuing directives to IESO telling them what to do. Instead perhaps you could instruct them to produce information similar to what Scott Luft produces. The latter would also back up your leader’s wishes or intent to be “transparent” for the taxpayers and voters in Ontario.
Good luck with the math exercises and with demonstrating your Ministry’s intention to become more transparent.
Ontario’s desire for total control over all aspects of the electricity sector is nearly fulfilled.
The push to eliminate dissent and independent review of the province’s energy monopolies has been a decade in the making. Since 2004, many of the province’s largest and most expensive policies were implemented with little to no oversight — at great cost to ratepayers, as the Auditor General forcefully highlighted in her recent annual report.
But Queen’s Park is set to fully take over all decision-making regarding the province’s energy monopolies by solidifying its control over the province’s energy regulator, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), with the recent passing of Bill 112. In doing so, Ontario is shutting down the last arena of independent public review of the billions of dollars being spent by the province and its many publicly owned utilities.
The legislation, “Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act,” would deny independent intervenors the funds needed to hire the lawyers and experts needed at these hearings, effectively blocking their participation.
Prior to this legislation, any individual ratepayer or organization representing ratepayers — ranging from big, industrial groups to cottage associations or low-income organizations — could apply for funding and act as an intervenor in any rate application. The government would instead replace the independent intervenors with a new government-appointed consumer representative.
In other jurisdictions where this has occurred, the direct cost of this new bureaucracy has been far more expensive than the cost of reimbursing intervenors for their lawyers and consultants. The indirect costs of losing the ability to hold the utility monopolies to account by forcing them to justify their proposed rate increases before the OEB could be much greater still.
One study found that intervenors have been highly successful at paring back the monopolies’ rate requests, their lawyers and consultants costing ratepayers just 2 cents annually while helping to reduce rate increases by $28 per customer. Other studies found that intervenors account for 1 per cent or less of overall regulatory costs, which themselves are a small amount of total electricity costs borne by ratepayers.
Replacing these groups with a government-appointed consumer representative charged with questioning government-owned monopolies eliminates the last remaining voice of independent review of proposals by public monopolies to spend billions of dollars on capital projects.
The province’s new legislation also ensures that any new transmission line can be deemed a “priority project” by the ministry of energy and automatically approved by the OEB. In the past, the OEB would analyze such projects to determine whether they were necessary or cost-effective. Furthermore, the province is considering more legislation that will exempt all government-directed energy plans or projects to be exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act.
The province’s previous moves to sidestep independent review have been costly for ratepayers. The smart meter rollout — which cost ratepayers $2 billion and counting and still isn’t fully functional — was done without any review from the OEB or other regulators. Billions of dollars in contracts have been — and continue to be — given to renewable energy and natural gas generators without any review by the OEB or intervenors. And the long-term energy plans developed by the province’s own energy planning experts — the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) — were never implemented and, instead, were replaced with plans written by the ministry of energy that were, again, never fully reviewed at the OEB and were later criticized by the Auditor General as overly expensive.
More recently, the province collapsed the OPA into another energy agency, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which is in charge of operating the province’s wholesale electricity market, ensuring that even more political control is embedded in ever more parts of the electricity sector. There is no longer anything “independent” about the Independent Electricity System Operator.
In the end, the OEB and the intervenors were the last voice of criticism that wasn’t on the payroll of the province. By replacing them with a government-led consumer advocate, the province will control every step of decision-making on electricity policy and spending, those pesky checks and balances eliminated at last.
Brady Yauch is an economist and Executive Director of the Consumer Policy Institute (CPI). He has acted as an intervenor at the OEB.