Ford fails to lower Ontario’s electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year

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QUEEN’S PARK —  Premier-designate Doug Ford’s plan to keep the Pickering Nuclear Station open until 2024 may be good for the nuclear lobby, but isn’t good for the people of Ontario.

“Today, Doug Ford chose to side with the powerful nuclear lobby rather than fix what’s really wrong with our broken energy system,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner.

“The decision to keep Pickering open past its best before date will cause electricity bills to go up. It is fiscally irresponsible when lower cost alternatives are available.”

It is a mistake for the new government to double down on the Liberal government’s past energy missteps that have caused electricity bills to rise. According to an article from TVO citing the Independent Electricity System Operator of Ontario, 42% of the price increase in the global adjustment (GA) is due to nuclear contracts, 26% from natural gas and just 17% from renewable energy contracts.

Why is Mr. Ford supporting the source of power most responsible for rising electricity prices?

“Mr. Ford clearly doesn’t want to help people lower their electricity bills with his decision to support overpriced outdated nuclear power and his plan to cut programs that help people save money by saving energy,” added Schreiner.

Quick Facts

Pickering Nuclear Station

  • is the 4th oldest nuclear station in North America. Opened in 1971, it was originally designed to operate for only 30 years, but now Doug Ford will keep it running for over half a century.

  • Pickering Nuclear Station is within 50km of the largest population centre in all of Canada. A nuclear accident at Pickering could lead to the evacuation of more than 650,000 people for 30 to 100 years.
  • Ontario could save $1.1 billion per year by closing PIckering on schedule. This includes saving $737 million per year by avoiding the sell of excess power at a loss and $407 million by purchasing low cost water power from Quebec at 5 cents per kWh.
  • Shutting down Pickering would create 32,000 person-years of employment and make Ontario a global leader in nuclear decommissioning, expertise we can export elsewhere.

Auditor General continues to out Liberals on expensive hydro shell game

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QUEEN’S PARK — It’s no surprise that today’s statement from the Auditor-General is another sharp rebuke of the Liberals’ capacity for honesty.

We learned today that the Liberal friendly accounting used to come up with the (Un)Fair Hydro Plan helped balloon the deficit by an astonishing $5 billion dollars. The news brings up a story that Kathleen Wynne would like to keep buried: that her government is using shell games to lower hydro rates in her power-buying scheme for the upcoming election.

“The Auditor-General’s statement confirms what the Greens have long been saying – that the temporary reduction of electricity bills is nothing but a cover-up of the hydro mess this government has made. This is a costly $45 billion dollar band-aid that won’t fix the problem. What this will do is cost us more in the long run,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

According to previous reports from the Financial Accountability Officer, the costs of the Liberal hydro band-aid could escalate to anywhere between $63 and $93 billion in the future, amounting to a staggering $19,000 per household. Under the Liberals, Conservatives or NDP, governing in Ontario has been reduced to magic math and fairy tale hydro schemes.

 “The Liberals think they can trick people with false spending numbers and short-term discounts,” added Schreiner. “We face hard choices to get out of this hydro mess. Greens do not shy away from tough conversations. We would implement real solutions to fix our electricity system like transitioning from incredibly expensive nuclear to buying clean water power at one-third the price.”

“The Green Party of Ontario would target rate reductions for the people who need it most; say no to OPG’s demand for a 180% price increase to pay for outdated and overpriced nuclear power; and focus on reducing demand through energy efficiency and conservation measures,” said Schreiner.

These are common-sense solutions to build a clean and affordable electricity system, and only the Green Party is talking about them.

Learn more at www.gpo.ca/vision.

Liberals’ nuclear bias continues to hurt Ontarians

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QUEEN’S PARK — Today’s report from the Financial Accountability Officer that ratepayers are saving $38 million from the Ontario-Quebec trade deal is a sliver of good news. These savings unfortunately come ahead of the skyrocketing bills we will be hit with to pay for multi-billion-dollar nuclear renovation jobs.

“This Liberal government has a listless energy plan aimed more at keeping the nuclear lobby happy than securing a good deal for people. This trade deal with Quebec for inexpensive hydro is a start but needs to be expanded. Otherwise it’s tinkering around the edges instead of moving our grid towards the cleaner, cheaper future that is possible,” said Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario.

Maintaining the status-quo energy system comes with a multi-billion price tag for rebuilding Darlington and keeping Pickering open past 2018. Ontarians should be asking themselves why the Liberals are anchoring our energy plan to dangerous and expensive nuclear when Hydro Quebec has offered to sell us water power at one third of the price.

“We learned today that we can save money by purchasing clean power from Quebec. So why are the Liberals determined to dump money down the nuclear drain?” said Schreiner. “The Liberal plan hurts ratepayers and hitches the province to outdated technology with no long-term future,” he added.

The Green Party’s vision for energy is about solutions that put people and planet first, rather than short-term fixes that fuel the powerful nuclear lobby. We would say no to the electricity price increases requested by OPG to rebuild outdated nuclear plants. It’s past time for an independent review of the costs and benefits of all energy sources before sinking any more money into our aging, outdated nuclear plants.

“We have to build an affordable electricity system for the future, not the past,” said Schreiner. “It’s time for an energy system that puts people first, not industry insiders.”

Nuclear needs an independent cost-benefit analysis

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Today’s report from the Financial Accountability Officer (FAO) is an extremely limited, one-sided look at the Liberal’s nuclear program in Ontario.

“What Ontarians really need is a comprehensive analysis of the best options for our province,” says Jose Etcheverry, GPO critic for Environment and Climate Change. “In fact, all nuclear projects in Ontario’s history have been late and over budget; Pickering should have been closed in 2014 and it is irresponsible to keep it open any longer. Darlington is already 400% over budget on just one component, showing Ontario must take off ramps away from nuclear.”

The FAO report admits: “The present report is not a comprehensive cost-benefit or business case analysis of the Nuclear Refurbishment Plan relative to alternatives. Such an analysis would have to consider important issues such as economic, environmental, security factors and associated non-financial risks.”

Without an independent review of the costs and alternatives, we cannot know what the best option is for Ontario.

What we do know is that nuclear is risky and expensive. Once it’s built we are going to be pushed to use it, undermining conservation efforts. Nuclear inhibits our ability to use emerging technologies that may be cheaper and cleaner to run, that also don’t have as many safety concerns or problems with storing waste.

Ontario still has no plan for storing radioactive nuclear waste, instead punting yet another problem to the next generation.

Last, no company will insure nuclear plants because they are too risky. It’s simply not fair to put taxpayers on the hook for them.

 

Ontario needs a better deal from politicians at Queen’s Park

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(Queen’s Park:) – Ontarians are getting an unfair deal from the scandal-plagued Liberal government at Queen’s Park.

Needless transit stops that cost billions and serve developers more than commuters. Another 180% increase in electricity rates to rebuild nuclear plants to generate power Ontario doesn’t need. Increasing threats to our drinking water.

That’s why the Green Party plans to hold all parties at Queen’s Park to account on these issues in the fall sitting of the Legislature.

“Government decisions should be about what is good for people, not politicians,” says Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner.

“I’m tired of the political games and partisan self-interest that goes on at Queen’s Park. We will continue to continue to work with Ontarians to demand action on issues that people care about,” adds Schreiner. “We are ready to deliver real solutions for people.”

Schreiner outlined the GPO’s three top priorities for fall sitting of the Legislature:

  1. Stop giving the nuclear industry billions of dollars to generate surplus power.
    Just say no. The government must turn down the 180% electricity price increase requested by the nuclear industry. Instead, the GPO supports investments in people’s homes and businesses to save money by saving energy.
  2. Stronger protections for drinking water.
    Public drinking water for people and communities must the province’s top priority when issuing water taking permits. We also need stronger protections against industrial activities in source water regions and water taking fees that cover the cost of sustainable water management.
  3. Protecting workers and middle class families from rising levels of inequality.
    Dreams of owning a home, having a stable job and a high quality of life are getting further away. Greens will push the government to raise social assistance rates, build transit that works for people and implement innovative solutions so people and families can afford a home.

“We can’t wait until next year’s election to get action on inequality, electricity prices and water,” says Schreiner. “We will continue to mobilize people on doorsteps and in coffee shops to pressure the insiders at Queen’s Park to act.”

The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and policies that work for people to Queen’s Park.