Patrick Brown said: “Right now we have the highest hydro rates in North America.”
Fact: Not true. According to the independent Financial Accountability Officer, Ontario sits in the middle of the pack in terms of energy costs among Canadian provinces. Thanks to our early leadership, Ontarians won’t see the cost increases coal-dependent provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan will. (Source: FAO)
Even worse, the U.S. states Patrick Brown regularly references as examples of sound energy planning are in reality lagging behind. He should know that in 2015, Ontario’s average industrial electricity prices were 8.35 c/kwh in the South and 6.35 c/kwh in the North. These rates are lower than New York 8.72 c/kwh, Pennsylvania 9.59 c/kwh, Michigan 9.13 c/kwh, and the U.S. industrial average 8.71 c/kwh. What’s important about these comparisons is that even though these jurisdictions continue to rely heavily on dirty fossil fuels, our electricity rates are still cheaper. The good news is that Ontario is in this position even after doing the heavy lifting in terms of rebuilding aging infrastructure and transitioning off of coal. (Source: Hydro Quebec, Ontario Ministry of Energy, IESO)
Patrick Brown said: “Why we are purchasing power to give it away, is beyond me. We generate more than we need, and we have a giant surplus.”
Fact: The last time the provincial Conservatives were in power, they spent $900 million importing electricity over two years just to keep the lights on. When we came into office, we inherited their dirty, unreliable electricity system and cleaned it up. Now, thanks to those necessary investments, Ontario families and businesses know the lights will go on and stay on when they need them to. Given our position of strength in terms, Ontario is a net exporter now, benefitting ratepayers to the tune of $230 million last year (as estimated by the Independent Electricity System Operator).
Considering the net benefit to Ontario ratepayers, it’s curious as to why Patrick Brown continues to rail against this practice. Even his Conservative colleagues know better.
When the Member for Simcoe-Grey was Energy Minister in 2001, he called these exports “pure profit.” He even went further, noting that “if we can make money on surplus power in the United States, we’re damn well going to do that.”
Patrick Brown said: “The Wynne Liberal government continues to sign renewable energy contracts that Ontario does not need.”
Fact: As announced in September 2016, Ontario suspended the second round of the Large Renewable Procurement process, saving up to $3.8 B in costs. He can read more about that and other actions we’re taking to reduce energy costs here.
Patrick Brown said: “Cap & Trade is a 2 billion dollar revenue grab for the Wynne government.”
Fact: Wrong. Every dollar collected will be reinvested, allowing us to support up to $8.3 billion in green projects that fight climate change like transit, electric vehicle incentives and housing retrofits.
The reality is with the federal government deciding to put a national price on carbon, every province needs to come up with a plan to fight climate change. Within that framework, Ontario is moving forward with our Climate Change Action Plan, which includes putting a cap on the amount of emissions businesses can release into the atmosphere. We’re taking this approach because it guarantees GHG reductions at the cheapest price possible for families and businesses, unlike Patrick Brown’s carbon tax scheme which would cost four times more without guaranteeing any reductions.
Third-party experts EnviroEconomics have confirmed this, showing Brown’s scheme could cost households up to $50 more per month, as opposed to $13 under the Liberal plan, just to get the same carbon reductions.
Frankly, it’s a little surprising to hear the Conservatives come out against a plan that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution at the lowest cost for families and businesses. Our plan does this – Patrick Brown’s scheme doesn’t come close.