No quick fix for Ontario's energy woes, electricity analyst says

As political parties start rolling out promises on energy ahead of the coming election, an Ontario energy analyst says there’s no quick fix to the province’s energy system.
An energy analyst says there's no quick fix to Ontario's hydro system. (CBC)

As political parties start rolling out promises on energy ahead of the coming election, an Ontario energy analyst says there's no quick fix to the province's energy system.

Tom Adams says political parties are promising simple fixes to the province's electricity system.

"The connection between those promises and the reality of our power situation gets more tenuous all the time," he said.

The Liberals say they plan to continue their Fair Hydro Plan, which reduced bills for households by 25 per cent last year. However, opposition parties and analysts have been critical of the accounting behind the plan.

"It looks like magic and it turns out there's less magic than first appeared," Adams said.

"So it's all borrowing. The provincial financial accountability officer and the auditor general … have come down solidly opposed."

Living with electricity history

Adams says initially, the Progressive Conservatives aligned themselves with the accountability officer and auditor general on that criticism.

Tom Adams is an energy analyst. (Courtesy Tom Adams)

"They were sharply critical of the so-called Fair Hydro Plan and the phoney 25 per cent rate cut until they decided that their main criticism of the Fair Hydro Plan is that it doesn't go far enough," he said.

Adams says the history of Ontario's hydro system has created what's in placed now.

"The reality of the situation we're in is that there are no simple solutions for this," he said.

"The situation is we've got a lot of electricity history that we've got to live with."

'An issue that can never go away'

The NDP hasn't released a plan yet for the June election, but last year, stated a plan to cut back rates by 30 per cent and buy back shares from Hydro One.

"This notion of buying back the Hydro One shares I think is very problematic," he said.

"The current shareholders are going to want to be bought out at fair market price. That is going to generate a lot of extra costs."

Adams says there is no quick fix, but advises people not to turn to politicians for answers on the province's energy system.

"One of the fundamental problems with Ontario's power situation is over the course of years, we've gotten in the habit of looking to our politicians as the source of all the solutions," he said.

"Electricity is to Ontario politics what language is to Quebec politics. It's just an issue that can never go away."


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