Ne­go­ti­a­tions still un­der­way

On­tario seek­ing a pos­si­ble agree­ment to buy elec­tric­ity from Que­bec

North Bay Nugget - - NATIONAL NEWS - Al­li­son Jones La Presse

toronto — on­tario is ne­go­ti­at­ing a pos­si­ble agree­ment to buy elec­tric­ity from Que­bec, but the gov­ern­ment is dis­put­ing a pub­lished re­port that it is pre­par­ing to sign a deal for enough elec­tric­ity to power a city the size of ot­tawa.

re­ported tues­day that it ob­tained a copy of a draft deal that says on­tario would buy eight ter­awatt hours per year from Que­bec — about six per cent of on­tario’s con­sump­tion — whether the elec­tric­ity is con­sumed or not.

on­tario en­ergy Min­is­ter glenn thibeault’s of­fice said the prov­ince is in dis­cus­sions to build on an agree­ment signed last year for on­tario to im­port up to two ter­awatt hours of elec­tric­ity a year from Que­bec.

But his of­fice re­leased a let­ter dated late last month to his Que­bec coun­ter­part, in which thibeault said the of­fer ex­tended in June was un­ac­cept­able be­cause it would in­crease the av­er­age res­i­den­tial elec­tric­ity bill by $30 a year.

“I am hope­ful that your con­tin­ued sup­port and ef­forts will help to fur­ther dis­cus­sions be­tween our ju­ris­dic­tions that could lead to an agree­ment that is in the best in­ter­est of both on­tario and Que­bec,” thibeault wrote July 27 to Pierre ar­cand.

on­tario would pre­pare a “term sheet” for the next stage of dis­cus­sions ahead of the two min­is­ters meet­ing at the en­ergy and Mines Min­is­ters Con­fer­ence later this month in new Brunswick, thibeault wrote.

any fu­ture agree­ments with Que­bec will have to pro­vide a re­duc­tion in on­tario elec­tric­ity costs com­pared to other al­ter­na­tives and demon­strate mea­sur­able re­duc­tions in green­house gas emis­sions, he wrote.

Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Leader Pa­trick Brown said on­tario doesn’t need eight ter­awatt hours of ad­di­tional power and sug­gested it means the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing clos­ing power fa­cil­i­ties such as the Pick­er­ing nu­clear plant early.

a se­nior en­ergy min­istry of­fi­cial said that is not on the ta­ble.

even if the Que­bec of­fer had been ac­cepted, he said, that power wouldn’t have re­placed any of on­tario’s baseload power be­cause it couldn’t have been counted on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

the on­tario en­ergy as­so­ci­a­tion said the re­ported deal would run counter to the gov­ern­ment’s stated en­ergy ob­jec­tives.

“on­tar­i­ans will not get the ben­e­fit of com­pe­ti­tion to en­sure it is the best of all pos­si­ble op­tions for the prov­ince, and com­pa­nies who have in­vested in on­tario and have em­ploy­ees here will not get the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide al­ter­na­tives,” pres­i­dent and Ceo Vince Bres­cia said in a state­ment. “Com­pet­i­tive pro­cesses should be used for any new sig­nif­i­cant sys­tem ca­pac­ity in on­tario.”

PoST­mEDIA NET­woRk fIlES

En­ergy Min­is­ter Glenn Thibeault’s of­fice said the prov­ince is in dis­cus­sions to build on an agree­ment signed last year for On­tario to im­port up to two ter­awatt hours of elec­tric­ity a year from Que­bec.

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