Tom Adam’s, former executive director of Energy Probe, is warning Ontario residents that hydro rates are ready to go through the roof:
Electricity prices in Ontario are “going up like a rocket,” fuelled in part by the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act, says a longtime observer of the province’s energy scene.
“You are going to get screwed, and it’s going to be painful,” said Tom Adams, a Toronto-based consultant and a former executive director of Energy Probe.
“We’re talking about hundreds of dollars a year out of your pocketbook that didn’t need to happen. I’m livid about it. People should be outraged.”
Adams warned that Ontarians should expect to pay at least $110 more a year by the end of 2011 for electricity. That translates into an additional nine-per-cent increase.
After that, rates will move steadily up for four or five years, he predicted.
The OEB has already received several applications for more hefty rate increases.
Hydro One, which operates most of the province’s long-distance transmission lines, has asked for a hike of 15.7 per cent in 2011 and 9.8 per cent in 2012. If approved, the increases would apply to the transmission portion of electricity bills.
Ontario Power Generation, which produces about 70 per cent of Ontario’s power, has asked for a 6.2-per-cent price increase effective next March. It scaled that back from 9.6 per cent after pressure from Energy Minister Brad Duguid.
Traditionally, Ontarians have paid less for power than Americans. But now, said Adams, “we are leaving them in our dust.”
He calculated that Ontario electricity rates passed the average U.S. price for the first time early this year, and are now nearly 15 per cent higher.
Adams assigned much of the blame for the rise in electricity rates to Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which promotes the use of solar, wind and other alternative power sources.
The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which locks in generous payments for 20 years for large green energy projects, is “just outrageous,” Adams said.
The program’s rates are far in excess of current electricity prices. The FIT program, for example, offers producers between 44.3 cents and 71.3 cents per kilowatt hour for solar power, and between 13.5 and 19 cents for wind power.
By contrast, the average weighted price for electricity so far this year is 4.02 cents per kilowatt hour.
In The Mayor’s opinion, FIT is a great program because it benefits the rich – like me – while completely ignoring the poor. The poor can eat cake. There’s not a snowballs chance in hell any middle class or poorish family will ever be able to retrofit their house with solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling or a freakin’ windmill. For one thing, it’s ridiculously expensive, and for another thing, the rate of return on any of those products usually takes 10-15 years, and poor people aren’t known as “forward-thinking” consumers.
For the rich, this is a boon, plain and simple. They get massive tax credits to install solar, thermal and wind, and then they get paid up to 15x what the going rate is when they send the power back to the grid. Yup, 15 times. It’s too bad I can’t capitalize the number 15, it would look really impressive. FIFTEEN TIMES. Naw, that’s not as impressive.
So now we have rich folk – like The Mayor – getting tax credits out the wazoo, and then getting paid 10-15x the going rate to produce power. A $20,000 investment today will be paid off in about 12 years. After that, passive income until the Lord calls my name and brings me home…where there will be unlimited electricity.
And as an extra bonus – because we rich folk needs extra bonuses more than the poor (it’s scientifically proven) – the FIT rate is locked in for 20 years. I believe the sound you hear is one of a cash register ching, ching, chinging along.
So that’s it for FIT, I believe we can all agree that saving the rich money at the expense of everyone else is a fantastic idea.
And then we have the HST that screws everyone for an extra 8%.
Pay it. Pay it and smile. Without it, the provincial government might not be able to offer a vegetarian alternative at the free breakfast program in our publically funded schools.
And btw – the gst you use to pay on retiring Ontario Hydro’s debt? Yaaaaaa, well, you’ll be paying hst on that now.
Have a good nights sleep.