Ontario’s Electricity Reform Takes Positive Step

April 4, 2019

Ministry of Energy Promises Long-Overdue Changes

April 4, 2019, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON – The Board of Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) Hydro commends the Ministry of Energy for its recent announcements as the latest step in improving the Ontario Electricity industry. This builds on the applauded cancellation of the Green Energy Act.

The key elements of the announcements are supported, with some caveats, as described below:

  • The NOTL Hydro Board supports the planned reduction in the conservation activities (NOTL Hydro – May 2017). The centralization of services with the IESO is not supported (local distribution companies that know their customers are better able to provide these services than a centralized bureaucracy in Toronto) but if this is a precursor to winding down the conservation programs then it can be lived with.
  • The NOTL Hydro Board supports the planned changes to the Ontario Energy Board (NOTL Hydro – Aug 2017). Time will be needed to determine if the spirit of the recommendations of the OEB Modernization Panel are realized and if the various recommended supplemental reports result in the hoped for improvements.
  • The NOTL Hydro Board supports the plans to make the presentation of the cost of electricity and any rebates to the bill more transparent and understandable (NOTL Hydro – Dec 2017). However, the NOTL Hydro Board notes that these rebates will require an ongoing taxpayer subsidy. The alternative immediate write-off of the billions of excess costs from the Green Energy Act continues to be recommended to provide greater future certainty (NOTL Hydro – June 2017).
  • The NOTL Hydro Board supports the planned consultations on industrial electricity prices (NOTL Hydro – Apr 2017) and hopes significant action will be the result. It is not right that other groups of customers are subsidized while the key provider of jobs is not.

The NOTL Hydro Board looks forward to continued progress in improving the electricity system in Ontario. Further savings the Minister can undertake include eliminating the MDM/R (NOTL Hydro – Oct 2017), taking a hard look at the distribution business of Hydro One (NOTL Hydro- July 2017), and ensuring Ontario electricity is structured so that customers will have real choices in the future as distributed energy resources become more affordable.