Rising hydro costs threaten to devastate industry in Ontario, says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. The Progressive Conservative energy critic warns that the global adjustment portion of hydro bills, which covers long-term supply agreements, conservation initiatives and solar and wind generation, could cripple the province’s manufacturing sector.
“It’s almost too far gone. And if the trend continues there will be no manufacturing in Ontario,” said Fedeli. He blames the government’s FIT (Feed-in-Tariff ) program, which offers guaranteed prices for energy produced through renewable sources such as solar and wind.
Fedeli says the guaranteed prices are ridiculously high at the expense of hydro customers who are paying the difference through the global adjustment fee on their hydro bills. Fedeli says the FIT program was aimed at kick-starting private investment in renewable electricity generation. But he says the provincial Liberals didn’t consider the consequences and that the growing costs will become too much for businesses to bear.
John Spencer, vice-president of operations for PGI Fabrene Inc. in North Bay, has said global adjustment now represents about 55% of the company’s monthly hydro charges and has grown exponentially since 2006 when it accounted for far less than 10% of the bill.
Fedeli also pointed to a plastics firm in the Waterloo area which has seen its electricity costs rise by 132% since 2007, despite a 4% reduction in hydro usage.
He said the problem is only going to get worse as more renewable energy projects start up under the FIT program.
Fedeli said there were 1,700 renewable energy projects operating under the FIT program in 2011. And he said that number is expected to reach 10,700 by 2018.
“It will be a disaster for Ontario,” he said, adding FIT contracts are for 20 years.
For the rest of this article, please go to the North Bay Nugget website: http://www.nugget.ca/2012/07/31/energy-fees-crippling-mpp