(October 19, 2011) Parker Gallant responds to Minister Brad Duguid: it’s the government’s claims that are “bogus”.
Omitted Costs, Inflated Benefits, a study I co-authored with Glenn Fox for the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society a week ago, has been discovered by the media and the Ministry of Energy. While we will have to wait until October 20th to hear the cabinet appointments by Premier McGuinty, that didn’t stop the Legislature’s most recent Minister of Energy, Brad Duguid from commenting on the study.
“The mistakes make the conclusions, frankly, bogus,” Duguid said in an interview, saying it´s “full of technical errors and incorrect assumptions.” Duguid offered no concrete evidence of his claims or any facts to back his statements up. He also took aim at its authors, saying “Gallant is known for opposing renewable power.”
Co-incidentally while the media was picking up on the study, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) put out its semi-annual press release, advising Ontarians that electricity rates were going up. The press release was announcing the rate increase on the “electricity” line of our bills. The OEB said it would increase our “total bill” by 1.8%, failing to state the “electricity” line would increase by an average of 3.2% for time-of-use (TOU) ratepayers on top of the 11.2 % that the same “electricity” line went up on May 1st, 2011.
That “electricity” line has now gone up 41% in just 2 years. Most of us forgot those earlier increases because the government had bribed us with that 10% “Provincial Benefit” which will cost taxpayers north of $1-billion annually for the next five years and increase the Provincial Debt by $5-billion.
Minister Brad Duguid in his Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) in November 2010 stated, “Over the next five years, however, residential electricity prices are expected to rise by about 7.9% annually (or 46% over five years).“ That LTEP has been converted to the Integrated Power System Plan II by the Ontario Power Authority and submitted to the OEB so it is in the process of becoming the direction that our energy sector will take for the next 20 years. Ratepayers and taxpayers will be severely affected by this submission, which will convert the LTEP into our energy future and verify the projections contained in the Fox/Gallant study.
The Minister’s forecast of annual increases of 7.9% in the LTEP 11 months ago is history and the actual increase in electricity prices of 14.3% since then are almost double his forecast.
So, just whose conclusions are “frankly, bogus”?
Parker Gallant, a retired banker, is a Financial Post columnist and an Energy Probe director.