Statement from Patrick Brown on secret Quebec-Ontario energy deal

Statement from Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown on the La Presse story of a secret Quebec-Ontario energy deal:

“Once again the Wynne Liberals have been caught negotiating in secret when thousands of Ontario jobs are on the line. This secret deal for 8 terawatts (TWh) per year of power – 6% of the power Ontario used last year – is bad for Ontario’s economy and for hydro customers. This is a bad contract for five big reasons:

Overpaying: Under this bad contract, Ontarians will pay 6.12 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) for Quebec power, growing at 2% per year for 20 years. That’s three times the amount we pay to Ontario producers at the average Hourly Ontario Energy Price of 2 cents. And it’s higher than the 5 cents per kwh Ontario is currently paying for power from Quebec. No wonder La Presse is calling the deal a “golden opportunity for Quebec.”

Power we don’t need: Ontario doesn’t need 8 TWh of hydro power from Quebec. The province wasted 7.6 TWh of clean power last year – most of it by spilling hydroelectric power. And we have already committed to extending Pickering and refurbishing our other nuclear reactors. 

Ontario jobs at risk: When you have as large a surplus as Ontario currently has, no government would ever sign a deal for 8 TWH of additional power unless they planned on closing Ontario power facilities early. Whether it’s hydroelectric facilities in Northern Ontario, natural gas plants, or even closing Pickering nuclear generating station early, the Premier is putting thousands of Ontario jobs at risk. Additionally, under this deal Ontario will pay Quebec regardless of whether we use the power or not, Quebec power will needlessly be prioritised under market dispatch rules.

Hidden costs: This bad deal hides the extra costs of upgrading Hydro One’s transmission lines to Quebec. This will cost billions of dollars according to the IESO intertie report, and we all know the Liberals will let Hydro One pass these costs onto ratepayers. This bad contract also hides decommissioning and severance costs for any displaced Ontario power facilities and workers.

Risk: Under the deal, Ontario will have to pay for the power every year no matter whether it’s consumed or not. Even if the transmission upgrades can’t be completed on time – or the province doesn’t need the power – we will still have to pay full price, meaning higher and higher hydro bills. Furthermore, because a significant portion of Ontario’s energy supply will now be imported, our supply will be at the whim of Hydro Quebec. This increases the risk of rolling blackouts and brownouts that will be beyond our control.

“Every single decision this government has made in the energy sector has resulted in Ontario families paying more and getting less. Life is harder and more unaffordable under the Wynne Liberals, and evidently it’s only going to get worse.”