In MPP Jack MacLaren’s column, “The Latest Hydro Hoax”, in the March 17 West Carleton Review, he rightly expresses outrage at our government’s shell game of reducing current electricity bills without doing anything to reduce the actual costs of electricity, but instead borrowing from future generations to pay the bills. We all know, after years of paying debt retirement charges, how sustainable that is. It falls in the same category as selling off Hydro One’s assets to pay current bills, and that was engineered by the same actors in Queen's Park.
However, Jack is wrong to blame the Green Energy Act as the problem to be abolished. Green energy costs are steadily going down, at least for solar and wind generation, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Fossil fuel and nuclear plant costs have bottomed out and can only rise in the future. This isn’t just my opinion; a quick Google search will turn up several reports showing these trends, from organizations like the U. S. Department of Energy, the OECD, and the Pembina Institute.
So let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. The movement to green energy is good and Ontario’s move in this direction is part of a worldwide trend that won’t stop. The Ontario government’s implementation has been, and continues to be, terribly flawed. As I have said previously, our future success requires the introduction of much more competition in the electricity system, starting with opening the system more to competition from new generators of electricity, then to new carriers. Our current system of regulated monopoly simply leads to inefficient, high cost operators, because they are guaranteed a return above whatever they can convince the Ontario Energy Board they have as costs. All those plum executive jobs exist for a reason, and it isn’t because the job holders are remarkably brilliant.
I have also pointed out that the real costs of delivering electricity in an area like Fitzroy Harbour are probably much lower than what customers are being billed there. They live close to a long established hydro facility, so costs of generation and distribution are both low. If MPP MacLaren wants to do something about hydro costs for his constituents, shining a spotlight on how bills relate to real costs would be an excellent start.