Parker Gallant: Ontario Ministry of Energy: Not so Smart Spending

(April 30, 2011) In the final week of the Federal Election if you live in Ontario you might be confused based on the daily press releases emanating from Queen’s Park.  Those releases would lead you to believe that the incumbent Ontario Liberals are in the final week of the Provincial Election.

By Parker Gallant

One of those press releases on April 27th announced a new $50 million fund had been established to develop all things related to a “Smart Grid”.   This fund will dole out taxpayers money to private for profit and not-for-profit entities that will do such things as develop; “A smart grid will also ensure consumers have reliable, clean power by letting utility companies pinpoint and automatically fix power outages.”

This appears to be an admission by the Liberals that the only capability those 4.3 million installed “smart meters” have, is to bill ratepayers for time-of-use (TOU).  Ontario has spent somewhere in the area of $2-billion dollars on smart meters and that is all we got!   Now the Liberals are going to hand out more taxpayer money in the hope that someone out there will be able to develop software that will do more then simply create a billing program.   But it doesn’t stop at $50 million because we are already committed to spend money in the development of the smart grid.  George Smitherman, when Minister of Energy allocated $50 million for the same thing and that initial $50 million is now almost-$100 million.

Smitherman initiated spending on the smart grid, which includes Hydro One working on their version in Owen Sound – cost $86 million, Toronto Hydro (phase one) -about $7 million and Orangeville Hydro-$4 million  (mentioned in my article). The Ministry also recently granted GE $7.9-million for research on smart grid initiatives.

Collectively this $50-million fund announcement brings expenditures to $155-million on smart grid initiatives.  It sure looks like the Provincial Liberals are focused on creating a twin for the e-health debacle!

Parker Gallant is a director of Energy Probe.

About Lawrence Solomon

Lawrence Solomon is one of Canada's leading environmentalists. His book, The Conserver Solution (Doubleday) popularized the Conserver Society concept in the late 1970s and became the manual for those interested in incorporating environmental factors into economic life. An advisor to President Jimmy Carter's Task Force on the Global Environment (the Global 2000 Report) in the late 1970's, he has since been at the forefront of movements to reform foreign aid, stop nuclear power expansion and adopt toll roads. Mr. Solomon is a founder and managing director of Energy Probe Research Foundation and the executive director of its Energy Probe and Urban Renaissance Institute divisions. He has been a columnist for The Globe and Mail, a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the editor and publisher of the award-winning The Next City magazine, and the author or co-author of seven books, most recently The Deniers, a #1 environmental best-seller in both Canada and the U.S. .
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3 Responses to Parker Gallant: Ontario Ministry of Energy: Not so Smart Spending

  1. What is happening in Ontario right now is a classic example of “Crisis Management” by Dalton and Gang. Create a “Crisis” with poor decision making skills, and then “Manage” that Crisis by throwing massive amounts of taxpayers dollars at it trying to make it work!

    Instead of admitting his mistakes and actually stop development of a failed “renewable” electrical system, he closes his eyes and puts his head down and continues to compound an already destructive agenda called “Smart Grid”.

    I trust that this lesson in “futility” will be used by all the parents of Ontario who have young children to educate. Tell them that this is what can happen when a person who is void of morals, ethics and common sense gets their hands on a never ending supply of $$$ and goes on a spending spree that can only end in a complete disaster for this once Great Province of Ontario!

  2. Scott says:

    Thanks Parker.

    It sounds like the first couple of trials were successful – at getting more trials.
    I read, on page 10 of the recent Conference Board of Canada report on Canada’s Electricity Infrastructure, the following:
    “… while investment levels have been elevated in recent years, they no longer contribute
    as significantly to boosting productive capacity. This is because the average life expectancy of capital in the electric power generation sector is being steadily eroded. Information technology and other machinery comprise a growing share of total capital investment. Because these assets have a shorter lifespan, they need to be replaced more quickly. This, together with a push toward renewable technology—which is more costly to build and maintain—is dampening the growth in total productive capacity despite the loftier investment levels.”

    We need to invest more because we need to be investing in less productive technologies. Perhaps I’ve been wasting time indicating the technologies aren’t productive – maybe that’s precisely the attribute that makes them today’s fashion.

  3. Keerthana Kamalavasan says:

    Nonprofits do valuable work in the communities they serve to create a better quality of life and safe neighbourhoods. The great part of being in a community in Ontario is that we are all helping each other reach this goal. There are many helpful programs in place to help nonprofits deliver quality services to Ontarians, such as the Community Use of Schools program and the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy. See the progress report here:

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