(July 23, 2014) The first Chapter on “energy poverty” introduced the reader to LIEN (Low-Income Energy Network) and APCH (A Place Called Home), of the City of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton County.
The City Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton County has a population of 90,000, with Lindsay hosting slightly more than 20,000 of that population.
According to my research, LIEN members include CAW; who erected a wind turbine in Chatham Kent and the Windfall Centre, where Brent Kopperson sits as the founder and executive director. For those who have followed my articles, Kopperson was one of the original founders of the GEAA (Green Energy Act Alliance). Some of the attendees at the LIEN Conference also caught my attention as they included: Environmental Defence (a GEAA founder), Toronto Hydro (the sole distribution company that attended and whose distribution rates have increased 176% in the past 11 years), the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) and the OPA (Ontario Power Authority). Union Gas & Enbridge were also represented.
Responsibility for creating “energy poverty” is not something that one would anticipate claiming responsibility for; but, as pointed out in the previous chapter, the letter Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli sent to the OEB certainly inferred it was the ruling Liberal Party that created it. The letter from minister Chiarelli to the OEB was dated April 23, 2014, just over 10 years after the Liberals passed Bill 100, Electricity Restructuring Act, 2004, which created the OPA and brought us four long-term energy plans in a 10-year time frame and whose responsibility has been to contract for intermittent, unreliable, expensive renewable energy.
When I originally spoke with LIEN coordinator, Zee Bhanji, I questioned her as to who was the local distribution company (LDC) with the worst reputation in respect to cutting off clients for not paying their electricity bills. The answer was Hydro One, the provincially owned LDC with about 25% of the residential clients in Ontario. Coincidentally, when I touched base with Jennifer Lopinski of APCH it turned out Hydro One were the LDC for the City of Kawartha Lakes & Haliburton County. The data that APCH had gathered and sent to me disclosed some interesting statistics that if applied to Hydro One’s full client base of 1.1 million residential customers and 4.4 million total customers; paints a dismal picture for those living at the “low-income” levels detailed in minister Chiarelli’s letter to the OEB. Minister Chiarelli certainly wasn’t concerned about the 11,800-plus personnel of OPG and Hydro One on the 2014 “Sunshine List”!
The statistics that Jennifer supplied (years 2008 through to Dec. 31, 2013) covered five fuel types including; oil, wood, natural gas, propane and hydro. Out of $251,474 of fuel utility requests (2013), 86.5% ($217,490) were for electricity supplied by Hydro One. The number of requests for 2013 were 276, meaning Hydro One represented approximately 239 on the list and the average negotiated amount appears to be about $875 per household and represents .644% of all households (37,100) in the city.
Extrapolating the APCH numbers to Hydro One’s 1.1 million residential clients would mean that 7,100 of their customers would be affected by “energy poverty” and taking that further would mean that they would be called on to provide $6.2 million in support. When I examined the LEAP (Low-Income Energy Assistance Program) for 2012, in the report prepared by OEB, it indicated that Hydro One had provided grants of $1,503,062 to 2,628 customers and that amount was $1.3 million less than the salaries of their top five executives.
If one extrapolates the foregoing to all LDC supplied residential ratepayer households the number of customers living in “energy poverty,” at a minimum, is 28,300 households or 20,000 more than the LEAP program supported and translates into a requirement for $25 million versus the $3.9 million actually disbursed in 2012.
It is worth noting that the numbers kindly supplied by Jennifer Lopinski of APCH only encompass those who approached the charity for help. There are probably many households that were unaware of APCH and never contacted them for assistance. Perhaps Hydro One has the answer to that question? Another reference made in Chapter One was to a letter to the editor of the London Free Press written by Kris Stevens, executive director of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association just prior to the June 12, 2014 provincial election. One of the quotes from Stevens’ letter was this nonsensical iteration:
“We’re making real progress and we can do so much more. On election day don’t vote for those that want to kill thousands of new jobs in the clean green energy sector. Vote for an Ontario that is heated, cooled and moved by a modern distributed clean sustainable energy system. A modern green energy system will power our prosperity for generations to come.”
“Real progress” to those who pushed renewable energy has proven to be a fallacy that has done nothing more than create prosperity for foreign companies that rushed to Ontario for the money extracted from Ontario’s ratepayers. At the same time, the push for wind and solar power has played a major role at creating “energy poverty” that now rivals Germany with over 1% of all households (44,000) in Ontario suffering from that malady!
Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive and a former director of Energy Probe Research Foundation. As with all independent bloggers on this site, Parker’s views do not necessarily reflect those of Energy Probe.