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Ontario Votes 2003

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Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

Party Platforms: Energy
by Paddy Moore

Here are the highlights of the energy platforms from the Liberal, New Democratic and Progressive Conservative parties:

Liberal Energy Platform                                 [top]
Will not sell off the electricity transmission grid.
Will not sell any publicly owned generating stations.
Keep electricity power rates frozen at 4.3 cents/kWh until 2006.
Phase out coal-burning generating plants by 2007, and replace with cleaner energy sources. Liberals say the 6,100 MW from coal plants can be replaced by 18,002 MW using clean energy sources by 2007.
Require all electricity suppliers to get five per cent of their power from renewable sources by 2007, and 10 per cent by 2010.
"Reward" those who reduce their energy consumption, and charge more to those who consume more than an average household.
Promote "smart meters," which track what time of day the energy is used, and charge accordingly. To be in place by 2006 when the rate cap is lifted.
Create program to help consumers cut consumption by five per cent by 2007.
Expand generating capacity, such as the station at Niagara Falls.
Build transmission link with Manitoba, representing 1,000 MW in a plan to add 30,702 MW to the province's generating capacity.
Create incentives for production of renewable energy sources.
Reduce red tape for clean-energy projects.
Work with businesses, commercial and institutional customers to reduce electricity consumption.
Make all publicly owned power entities subject to freedom of information and salary disclosure laws.
Create "truly independent watchdog" to regulate prices, utilities, and suppliers.

New Democratic Party Energy Platform     [top]
Put power system in public hands by ending electricity market deregulation.
Create "Efficiency Ontario" office to set standards for retrofits, certify energy efficiency contractors, ascertain best practices, and educate about conservation.
Create mechanism for gas and electricity utilities to lend money for retrofits that reduce consumption. The loan would be paid off through the consumption savings, keeping the bill at the same amount as before the upgrade.
Set renewable energy source target of 10 per cent by 2010, and 20 per cent by 2020.
Phase out coal plants, converting some to gas, by 2007.
Create accountability system through Public Utilities Commission that has the authority to manage the public power system. It would set the "fair, actual cost" of electricity.
Put moratorium on nuclear power stations.

Progressive Conservative Party
Energy Platform                                             [top]
Keep electricity rate frozen at 4.3 cents/kWh until at least 2006. Lift it only when power supply is sufficient to protect against price volatility.
Phase out coal-burning generating plants by 2015.
Cut emissions from fossil-fuel power plants by 45 per cent by 2010.
Establish guidelines for electricity bills that are easy to understand.
Give the Ontario Energy Board "sweeping new powers" to protect consumers, including greater power to levy penalties.
Continue hydro debt repayment.
Expand generating capacity with clean power: Niagara Falls (700 megawatts); Toronto Port lands (550 megawatts); Brighton Beach (550 megawatts).
Complete fixes to Bruce nuclear units 3 and 4 (1,500 megawatts)
Complete Manitoba-Ontario hydro link and seek other partnerships for electricity supply from sources other than fossil fuels.
Create Green Power Bonds to finance construction of green energy sources at below-market rates.
Require provincial and municipal governments to purchase 50 per cent from clean power sources within five years.
Speed up approval for "low-risk" green generating projects
Create some kind of tax incentive to encourage clean, renewable and alternative energy supplies, such as wind and solar power.
Invest $20 million for creation of a centre to co-ordinate research for and commercialization of clean energy projects.
Expand ENERGY STAR � rebate on PST to include light bulbs, furnaces and air conditioners.
Make it easier for people and businesses to sell power back to the local utility.
Launch "aggressive" education campaign for energy conservation.


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