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Premier, here's how to lower electricity rates

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 14:45

GPO leader Mike Schreiner issued the following open letter today to Hon. Premier Wynne on rising electricity rates and the opportunity to use lower cost water power from Quebec:
 
Dear Premier Wynne:

Many people in Ontario are struggling to pay their electricity bills. 

You need to act now to protect us from further price increases.  

Ontario Power Generation wants to raise the price for nuclear power in order to operate their nuclear power plant in Pickering and rebuild the one in Darlington. 

They have applied for permission to increase the price for nuclear power by 180 percent over the next decade. And I expect the price will go even higher - as I’m sure you know, no nuclear project in Ontario’s history has delivered on time or on budget. This is unacceptable. 

The people of Ontario simply cannot afford to pay for your plans to spend billions of our tax dollars to rebuild outdated nuclear plants. Studies indicate that Ontario can save $600 million to $1.2 billion per year - or $12 to 24 billion over 20 years - by cancelling the rebuild of the Darlington nuclear plant.

Fortunately, we can cancel the Darlington rebuild and still keep Ontario powered up. There is a cleaner, more affordable alternative: we can get the power we need by importing Quebec’s excess clean water power. 

Tomorrow you are meeting with top cabinet ministers from Quebec. This gives you a great opportunity to sign a deal for a cheaper and cleaner source of electricity.

To make this work, we would have to upgrade transmission lines at an estimated cost of only about $500 million. All told, Ontario would benefit from a return on investment in a just a few months. There are few deals in today’s world with such a short ROI.

Moving forward, the province would enjoy $600 million to $1.2 billion in annual savings. We could use this to fund energy efficiency programs that would help people save money by saving energy.

Premier, I know the nuclear lobby is powerful in Ontario. They spend millions on advertising alone. But I implore you to put the people of Ontario first.

In spite of their criticism, neither opposition party with seats at Queen’s Park has a plan to reduce electricity rate increases. Your government has an historic opportunity tomorrow to change the conversation on electricity rates in Ontario. The question is whether you have the courage to say no to the nuclear lobby and yes to lower cost water power from Quebec.

Premier, I ask you to put the people of Ontario first by signing a power deal with Quebec for low cost water power.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, GPO