MPP points to waste

Todd Smith crit­i­cizes On­tario Lib­er­als for state of pro­vin­cial en­ergy sit­u­a­tion

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NEWS - BRUCE BELL bbell@postmedia.com

PRINCE ED­WARD COUNTY — If an Easter egg was worth a dol­lar, Prince Ed­ward–Hast­ings MPP Todd Smith says the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment laid 78 mil­lion of them on the re­cent hol­i­day week­end.

Smith, who was re­cently ap­pointed as the Con­ser­va­tive party’s en­ergy critic, spoke to the Prince Ed­ward County Cham­ber of Tourism and Com­merce at its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing Thurs­day morn­ing and told mem­bers his new role has opened his eyes to mas­sive waste in the en­ergy sec­tor.

“As the en­ergy critic it’s been a re­ally in­ter­est­ing learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence the last cou­ple of months (be­cause) when I was elected in 2011 I felt I knew a lot about the en­ergy sec­tor in On­tario, but in the last two weeks I’ve felt like I’ve been drink­ing through a fire hose,” he said. “It’s un­be­liev­able how much in­for­ma­tion is out there, how much tech­nol­ogy is there and ex­actly the mess we are in when it comes to the en­ergy sec­tor in Toronto.”

Over the Easter week­end, Smith claimed the gov­ern­ment set­tled a law­suit stem­ming from a can­celled off-shore wind project for $28 mil­lion and spent an­other $50 mil­lion on en­ergy costs, flip-flop­ping be­tween wind, so­lar and nat­u­ral­gas pro­duc­tion.

“The gold rush from the Green En­ergy Act has cost us deeply and that is the big­gest rea­son while elec­tric­ity prices are soar­ing in On­tario – wind tur­bines and so­lar pan­els that are go­ing up across On­tario and con­tinue to go up,” he said. “Set the law­suit aside, the rest of the week­end cost us $50 mil­lion be­cause we were cur­tail­ing our nu­clear plants which pro­vide elec­tric­ity for 6.1 cents per kilo­watt hour and spilling wa­ter over the dams at Ni­a­gara Falls and other river fa­cil­i­ties – mean­while we are tak­ing on wind and so­lar over the week­end... de­mand was down, yet we were run­ning wind when the wind was blow­ing, run­ning so­lar when the sun was shin­ing and to keep all this run­ning prop­erly you’re run­ning nat­u­ral gas as well.

“So we’re spilling wa­ter from our dams, vent­ing steam from our nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties and tak­ing ex­pen­sive, gas, so­lar and wind and we end up ex­port­ing ex­cess en­ergy at a loss to our neigh­bour­ing ju­ris­dic­tions – it’s an ab­so­lute un­nec­es­sary waste.”

Ear­lier this week Smith was at a con­fer­ence in South­west­ern On­tario and said he toured a green­house in which the owner told him his nat­u­ral gas bill has risen from $4,000 a month to more than $14,000 as a re­sult of cap and trade tax on nat­u­ral gas cus­tomers.

Smith said costs have sky­rock­eted at Quinte Health Care fa­cil­i­ties and lo­cal schools as well.

“That is money now that is not go­ing to be used for front-line health work­ers, it’s not go­ing to pay for sup­port­ing our class­rooms, whether it’s our early child­hood ed­u­ca­tors, teacher’s as­sis­tants – you have to have th­ese sup­ports. but now they are be­ing cut back be­cause of the ris­ing cost of en­ergy,” he said. “So $1 mil­lion more at Quinte Health Care, $700,000 more at Hast­ings and Prince Ed­ward Dis­trict School Board – there are real con­cerns.”

Smith said Prince Ed­ward County does not need any wind projects and said the Lib­er­als need to can­cel any on the books now.

“On the week­end, wpd Canada, the com­pany that wants to put in 29 tur­bines on the south shore of the County, is thumb­ing its nose at the en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view process and clear­ing veg­e­ta­tion for a project which hope­fully won’t hap­pen — we don’t need th­ese tur­bines in Prince Ed­ward County and for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons.”

BRUCE BELL/THE INTELLIGENCER

Prince Ed­ward-Hast­ings MPP Todd Smith (right) lis­tens as Prince Ed­ward County Cham­ber of Tourism and Com­merce pres­i­dent Gil Le­clerc ad­dresses the au­di­ence at the or­ga­ni­za­tion's an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Thurs­day morn­ing. Smith was the quest speaker and told the crowd at the Prince Ed­ward Yacht Club the prov­ince's en­ergy sec­tor is a huge mess.

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