Foolish, horrible contract – if it’s true
It was nice to hear from Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault on Tuesday that Ontario will only buy hydro power from Hydro Quebec if it’s a good deal for the taxpayers of Ontario.
Sadly, his resolve comes almost a decade too late to do Ontarians much good, because that’s never been the policy of the McGuintyWynne Liberal government up to now.
This given that they’ve already wasted $9.2 billion of our money paying inflated prices for unreliable and unnecessary wind and solar power for 20 years — according to Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk.
Indeed, where was the Wynne government’s concern for Ontario taxpayers and electricity ratepayers when the Liberals were signing those deals — now paying Ontario wind developers twice the U.S. average price for wind power, and 3½ times the U.S. average price for solar power, according to the auditor general?
Why did the 20-year contracts they signed with these developers require that we had to buy their electricity first, which means the entire electricity generation system is now running less efficiently than it should, in order to accommodate unreliable and expensive wind and solar power?
That’s because when we aren’t paying wind and solar developers outrageous, locked-in prices to produce electricity for 20 years, we’re paying them outrageous, locked-in prices not to produce electricity, or we’re selling other, cheaper forms of green energy, like our own hydro power, at a loss to Quebec and the U.S. This is happening, year in and year out, because Ontario has a huge energy surplus caused in part by — wait for it — high electricity prices, which have doubled over a decade to become the highest in Canada due to the Liberals’ reckless energy policies, which have gutted much of the province’s manufacturing sector.
Thibeault’s position on Tuesday was intended to knock down a story in the Quebec newspaper La Presse.
It said the Wynne government had signed yet another foolish electricity contract (my word, not La Presse’s), this time with Hydro Quebec, to supply 6% of Ontario’s energy needs for the next 20 years, by buying Quebec hydro power at inflated prices (6.12¢ per kWh, compared to the going rate of 4.8¢ per kWh), with a 2% annual escalator cause for the duration of the contract.
Thibeault’s office denied the La Presse story that Ontario had agreed to the deal, releasing a copy of a July 27 letter he sent to Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Arcand.
It said Quebec’s offer was unacceptable because it would cost the average Ontario household $30 more per year in electricity bills and require Ontario to curtail its own wind, solar and hydro power in order to buy hydro power from Quebec.
But Thibeault’s letter also made it clear the Ontario government is continuing to negotiate with Quebec to buy a lot more of Quebec’s hydro power than the two governments have previously announced.
On the face of it, the terms of the deal obtained by La Presse would be horrible for Ontario, which tends to make Thibeault’s explanation that the province had refused to sign it credible.
But the concern is that the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals have signed so many other awful electricity deals — including the one for green energy from South Korea’s Samsung Corp., which they have since had to dramatically downsize — that there’s always the worry Ontario taxpayers and electricity ratepayers will get fleeced yet again.
Indeed, that’s the scariest thing of all. Brent Schmidt paddles back to shore in the Ottawa River during some mild weather in the capital earlier this year.