Sharing a letter that a friend has sent to Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Energy,
Dear Minister Chiarelli,
RE: Electricity Questions:
As you may or may not be aware for the past several years I have taken an interest (some would say compulsive) in the electricity sector and during that time have written extensively in several media outlets including the Financial Post. I also took directorships in organizations like Energy Probe and Wind Concerns Ontario both of whom have expressed concern about the aggressive push, by your government, for the addition of unreliable, intermittent and expensive wind and solar electricity generation. This letter is not meant to argue your support or otherwise of “renewable energy” but to present questions that baffle me and many others. The questions are outcrops of the various legislative and regulatory changes the OLP have made from within your ministry since first elected as the governing party in 2003. The questions below are begging for answers so I would greatly appreciate your giving serious thought to them and recognize that the intent is for enlightenment. Convince me and others that your Ministry does have a plan that will present industry with competitive electricity pricing without driving residential ratepayers into “energy poverty”!
Here are my questions:
Q.1.The Ontario government hands out up to $8,500 to purchasers of EVs (electric vehicles) if they buy a high end $85,000 Tesla automobile and presumably don’t collect an “ecotax” but if an Ontario resident purchases a 12 volt replacement battery for their car they pay $15.00. A Telsa battery is 375 volts so shouldn’t your government be collecting an ecotax of $470.00 from the buyer instead of handing out $8,500 as a grant?
Q.2.Why do all of the local distribution companies (LDC) hand out discount coupons encouraging us to purchase CFL bulbs that contains mercury; a deadly toxin and where the packaging suggests you almost have to use a hazmat suit if it breaks to clean it up?
Q.3.Why does the Ontario Ministry of Energy classify “conservation” as a generation source of electricity if we can’t plug our toaster into an outlet powered by “conservation” that will actually toast it?
Q.4.What grid is “conservation” generation connected to and is any of it exported?
Q.5.Why did you, as Energy Minister, order the creation of a service “Stream” that offers large industrial companies very cheap rates, for “consuming more electricity” when the rest of Ontario is told to “conserve?
Q.6.Why is the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) allowed to claim they will pick up your “old” fridge or freezer for “FREE” when they know the costs to pick them up are billed to the ratepayers via the Global Adjustment Mechanism (GAM)?
Q.7.Why do all the TV, radio and newspaper ads that the OPA and the LDCs contract for in the media, at the end of the commercial, say or state: “paid for by the OPA” when the truth is that the ads are “paid for by the ratepayers of Ontario via the GAM?
Q.8.Why are average ratepayers obliged to pay the costs of meteorological stations erected at industrial wind turbine installations to measure the electricity they may have generated but are being paid to NOT PRODUCE power?
Q.9.Why is the 36 page submission to the OEB (EB-2013-0326) by the OPA for the $483.4 million “Conservation” spending planned for 2014 considered a “business plan” when they have no specific information on the makeup of that almost $500 million spending of ratepayer dollars?
Q.10.Why does the term “Global Adjustment Mechanism” contain the word “Global” when the makeup of the GAM is all driven by the contracts signed by the OPA and other directives/regulations issued by the Ministry of Energy and apply only to Ontario’s ratepayers?
Q.11.Why is the 10% reduction on our electricity bills (due to expire December 31, 2015) referred to as a “Clean” Energy Benefit when it is a benefit that is the responsibility of the taxpayers; so shouldn’t it be labeled a “Taxpayer Energy Benefit?
Q.12.Why are consumers of electricity charged for electricity they never consumed, ie; “line losses”, no matter how far they are from the generator of that electricity and why has it been moved from the “electricity” line to the “delivery” line on our bills?
Q.13. Don’t you think this (Q.12.) is something that David Orazietti, Minister of Government and Consumer Services should look into and perhaps seek clarification on Q.6. And Q.7?
Q.14.Why hand out grants (funded by Ontario’s ratepayers via the GAM) of $650 towards the installation of energy efficient air conditioners while handing out only $431.76 on average (2012) to a only a few (.002% ) ratepayers suffering from “energy poverty” and may have to freeze in the cold or forgo nutritious food because their local distribution company has cut or threatened to cut their power?
Q.15.Why did you claim Ontario had generated a $6 billion profit from selling our excess electricity via the export market when that number was simply what we received for selling excess power that ratepayers had paid for at prices that were multiples of the $6 billion?
Q.16.Why did George Smitherman negotiate that “sole sourced” Samsung contract without the company having demonstrated any previous expertise in the generation of electricity from either wind or solar?
I have many more questions related to the activities of your Ministry over the past decade but have kept the list relatively short so I sincerely hope you will have the time to answer the few that I have raised. With the legislative recess set to go through to October 20, 2014 it would appear that you or your Ministry staff will have more than sufficient time to respond.
On another note some of my questions are directed at the Ministry of the Environment & Climate Change who are responsible for the issuing of the Renewable Energy Approvals (REA). Rather than writing a separate letter to Minister Murray I would appreciate it if you could have someone in your office co-ordinate his Ministry’s response. I have copied him via his e-mail address but for your edification here are those questions!
Questions for your colleague, Glen Murray in the Ministry of the Environment Chair:
Q. 1. Why does the Ministry of the Environment [and Climate Change] issue Renewable Energy Approvals (REA) when the applications are incomplete and lacking in the detail required under the rules/regulations established under the Green Energy and Economy Act?
Q.2. Why is the MoE not equipped to measure “infra-sound” when it has been found to be a major issue in many jurisdictions; causing health problems and is measurable?
Q.3. Why is the MoE unable to order compliance requirements to wind turbine developers when their “audible” noise limits exceed the guidelines/rules established?
Q.4. Why does the MoE issue REAs that are located in Important Bird Areas (IBA) that may endanger many “species at risk”?
I wish to thank you, Minister Chiarelli and Minister Murray, in advance, for your anticipated cogent reply to each of my questions as it will assist me and many of my friends, relatives and media followers in understanding exactly what it is that the Ontario Liberal Party is attempting to do with the Energy sector in the Province. The impact of the “sea change” that has occurred in the “Energy” portfolio are immense, affecting so many facets of the lives of the residents of the province. The latter point is particularly noticeable when toting up the directives (85) that the Ministry has issued to just the OPA since that entity was created by one of your predecessors, Dwight Duncan, in the Energy chair you now occupy. Many other directives/letters have been issued to the OEB, the OPG and Hydro One so it is obvious that there is a plan. I believe it is important to convey to the residents and voters exactly what that “plan” is and why it has been enacted in Ontario but is being abandoned elsewhere around the world.
I await your edification!