MPP points to waste
Todd Smith criticizes Ontario Liberals for state of provincial energy situation
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.”
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.