An open letter to Chris Bentley, Hon. Minister of Energy on FIT review

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An open letter to Chris Bentley, Hon. Minister of Energy
Ministry of Energy
900 Bay Street, 4th Floor
Hearst Block
Toronto ON M7A 2E1

Dear Hon. Minister Bentley,
 
I am deeply concerned that the freezing and back dating of green energy contracts during the government’s review of the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program is killing jobs and bankrupting local businesses. 
 
I have met with a number of solar entrepreneurs who are laying off workers and facing possible bankruptcy. They are in this challenging situation because no notice was given that contracts would not be awarded for the duration of the FIT review. Suspending contracts in process two months before the review was announced is making a difficult situation even worse.
 
Because of the way the FIT review is being handled, local entrepreneurs are now facing at least four months of uncertainty, cash-flow issues and lay-offs.  Small businesses simply don’t have the cash flow or financial resources to survive without income.  To succeed, local businesses need a consistent, transparent and predictable policy process. 
 
The Green Party is recommending two simple solutions to create a proper review process that will allow business to continue while lowering FIT prices to protect ratepayers. 
 
First, don’t suspend contracts already in process.  Second, pre-approve new submissions for microFIT and community power projects during the review process with the understanding that the approvals will be at the new lower prices.  This will protect ratepayers while ensuring that business does not come to a complete stop.
 
These simple actions will prevent unnecessary bankruptcies and job losses while moving forward with lower FIT pricing and an improved program.
 
Minister, I’m sure you share my desire to see green energy implemented in ways that benefit our communities and our local economies.  Swift action on your part is needed to prevent unnecessary job losses and bankruptcies.    
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario