Doug Ford is going to sell Ontario Hydro (and Ontario's stake in Toronto Hydro, Hydro One and other companies).
15 years ago Mike Harris left Ontario with a fiscal mess and had sold off major chunks of Ontario's electricity grid, namely by privatizing the sale and distribution of electricity - which only led to higher electricity rates.
That sell off combined with the murder of Dudley George and the Walkerton E-coli Massacre, led to Mike Harris's unpopularity and 15 years of the Liberal Party trying to fix his mess.
Unfortunately, they couldn't backpedal on the sale of parts of the electricity grid. That mess is here to stay.
So along comes Doug Ford and guess what he wants to do? Sell off and privatize Ontario Hydro - sell everything. Let the people of Ontario fend for themselves when higher electricity rates become the norm as electricity companies (mostly foreign investors) swoop in and buy the companies, and then resell the electricity to the people of Ontario at a higher rate.
So when is this coming?
Doug Ford has on numerous ocassions talked about how "great" it would be if Ontario sold off Ontario Hydro. He thinks it would result in cheaper rates for customers. Ha, what a lie that is.
He has not set a timeline however for when he intends to sell off Ontario Hydro and its related components.
What he is doing however is:
- Ending the cap and trade policy for companies, putting a lot of companies in legal limbo after purchasing billions of dollars of cap and trade from other sources. Their cap and trades are now basically worthless.
- Scrapping the GreenON rebates program for solar panels, which gave people a rebate if they bought solar panels, installed energy efficient windows, and other renovations for improving energy efficiency of their homes.
- Scrapping parts of the Climate Change Action Plan which targeted greenhouse gas emissions, and by scrapping we mean completely gone with no plan to replace them. Basically it gives big corporations free reign to pollute the air as much as they want.
The rebates were so important that they lowered the cost of solar power in Ontario, such that manufacturers could focus more on mass production - which created jobs in Ontario's solar industry for both manufacturing, for sales, and for installation.
With the rebates gone, that is going to hurt jobs in Ontario's solar industry and it is going to raise prices.
Coupled with selling off Ontario Hydro and rising electricity prices, the people of Ontario are going to be looking for alternatives.
The obvious alternative is to go off grid and produce your own electricity. But without the rebates, that option just got more expensive.
Thus people wanting to go off grid in Ontario now have to weigh more affordable options like:
- Wind turbines
- Hydro power
- Wave power
- Gasoline / Propane Generators
And those options don't work for many homes.
- Some locations are not windy enough - or are in a town or city which has bylaws prohibiting wind turbines in residential neighbourhoods.
- Hydro power requires the property to have access to moving water, such as a river or stream on their property.
- Wave power requires their property to be on the shore of a lake.
- Gasoline and propane generators can be noisy, which disturbs neighbours, and thus are likewise not allowed in urban or suburban areas.
Thus solar, quiet and nigh invisible solar, becomes the one option that homeowners can put almost anywhere that they have access to peak sunlight.
So cutting the rebates for solar ahead of a strategy for selling off Ontario Hydro, well that is just going to put Ontario in a position to be taken advantage of by whomever ends up buying the electricity grid.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Moffat was, at one point, a door to door salesman for Direct Energy, a company which sold electricity and gas to homeowners. A job he loathed and later quit. He has since set himself a goal of someday going off the grid completely. Eventually.