Canadian Manufacturing

Exporting surplus electricity cost Ontario $1B in 2013, NDP claims

New Democrats say poor planning by Liberals has added another $220 a year to electricity bills

TORONTO—The New Democrats say poor planning by Ontario’s Liberal government has added another $220 a year to electricity bills.

The NDP says the government signed contracts for so much unneeded electricity that Ontario has to export the surplus power at a loss to Manitoba, Quebec or neighbouring American states.

NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns says the province ended up subsidizing electricity exports “to the tune of over $1-billion last year.”

He says the province buys the power for about eight cents a kilowatt hour, but then has to sell off the surplus electricity for less than three cents a kWh.

Tabuns calls it “an extraordinary expense” that drives up hydro bills, and says the province should have its own agency to trade on the electricity market to better protect Ontario ratepayers.

Tabuns says the hourly Ontario energy price fell to zero on Dec. 28, so while thousands of people were shivering in the dark after the ice storm, the province was actually giving away power to neighbouring jurisdictions.

Ontario exported 18.3 terawatt hours of electricity in 2013 while importing 4.9 tWh.

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