Ontarians face skyrocketing hydro bills, with a significant portion of which goes to the costs of expensive and unnecessary green solar energy program under the Liberal government. The program has brought handsome profits to those who put a solar panel on their roof-top, as Bob Mok writes, and it is energy owners’ gravy train but ratepayers’ nightmare. To read Mok’s previous articles on the series, please refer to http://096.ca/news/652931.
If you were to examine your Hydro (electricity) Bill, you will found that the charges are broken down into separate categories as required by law. On my own invoice, there is a charge for Delivery (over $40) and “Regulatory” cost of $2.76 along with the electricity usage fee. These two former items took up almost half the cost of the total bill. It is true that even if you do not use electricity in a vacant dwelling, the delivery charge and regulatory charge still apply.
While “Delivery charge” seems to be a simplistic term, one must not overlook what it entails and how costly it is. According to Hydro One, 60% goes to replace worn-out equipment and trim trees to keep power-lines clear. 15% is used for restoring power after an outage. 15% for customer service and billing. Finally, 10% is for “connecting new customers” - including those using renewable energy or energy storage. What does this last item mean? It is a cryptic admission for connecting windmills and solar panels build on roof-tops to the electricity power grid! We are actually paying for part of the loss leading “Green Energy Policy” through the delivery charges as well.
Since 2003, the Provincial Liberal Government has been relentlessly pursuing expensive, unnecessary, and unreliable solar, wind, and biofuel energy sources to replace the coal-firing electricity generating stations. Traditionally, Ontario's energy needs were powered by Nuclear, coal, oil, gas, and Hydroelectric dams.
Prior to 2005, the electricity generation sources took on the following proportions: Nuclear power 37%, Hydroelectric 26%, Coal 21%, and Gas 16%. There were next to zero outputs from renewable sources like wind or solar power. By 2014, the coal-firing plants were either shut down or converted to biomass fuel. Today, Ontario is the first province or state in North America to successfully phase out the burning of coal to produce electricity.
All this seems like good news all around. Who would not like carbon emissions (green house gas) reduced or even taken out of the electricity generation equation altogether? Then, some people started to ask – at what costs? Next thing everyone realized is the geometric leap of their invoiced amounts on their electricity bills.
In order to replace the coal-firing plants, the Liberal Provincial Government put into play the “Green Energy Act”. In 2009, Ontario's solar program was launched. It took $60,000 to $70,000 then to do a 10Kw residential rooftop project. Today, it will only cost about $30,000. Back then, the participating house owner were paid 80.2 cents per Kwh for 20 years with the energy going back into the power grid.
In one example, a small rooftop project costing $40,000 was paid off in less than 10 years. The installed panels earn $300 a month on average. A sunny summer month could generate $750. The money covers the owner's monthly $125 hydro bill (not related to the energy generated) and helps pay off the loan. The rest of the contract period (as they say) were gravy!
Wait a minute, did we not say that we were charged 9.9 cents for on-peak hours in 2010? That means that we are paying for the excess capacity at a higher cost (80.2 cents to the house owner) than what we are selling them for (9.9 cents). For every dollar we charged on this energy, we paid eight dollars for it, losing seven dollars. What kind of business can survive this huge negative rate of return? By the way, this kind of contract has a life span of 20 years!
Today, the payment rate for rooftop project under 10 Kwh has been lowered and pegged at 38.4 cents per Kwh for new installations. The current on-peak charge is 18 cents. The province of Ontario is losing $1.31 for every dollar of energy that we sold from solar generation. For those systems installed earlier in 2010, the province will continue to lose $3.45 for every dollar of energy consumed over the next 14 years.
We will continue to look into the “Green Energy Act” and its impact next time.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.