The Society of Energy Professionals Respond to Auditor General's Gas Plant Report

Calls for evidence based planning to avoid costly mistakes

TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - On the heels of the Ontario Auditor General's report on the cost of cancelling the Oakville gas plant, the Society of Energy Professionals says the key lesson from this episode is that the government's energy sector decisions must be evidence-based.

"Keeping the lights on isn't a left-wing or right-wing issue," said Scott Travers, president of the Society of Energy Professionals (The Society) and a professional engineer and market analyst, said in response to the scathing Auditor General's report. "The government should set its priorities and ensure that there is a process in place that uses evidence-based planning so the job is done right and for the lowest cost possible."

"As the billion-dollar price tag for cancellation of the Oakville gas plant shows, when politics get in the way of planning it costs every Ontarian a lot of money. The Auditor General's report is an opportunity for the government to refocus on a stable, evidence-based, long-term energy plan."

The Society - representing 8,300 Ontario energy professionals - was pleased to see Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk highlight the need for evidence-based decision-making in the energy sector. Ms. Lysyk found that had the government consulted the professionals at the Ontario Power Authority prior to committing to "make whole" TransCanada Energy Ltd, Ontarians could have saved hundreds of millions of dollars.

Travers's comments come weeks after The Society called on the government to commit to long-term, evidence-based planning and decision-making for the energy sector in its submission to the Ministry of Energy's Long-term Energy Plan consultation.

The Society is also concerned about the impact of Bill 75 on the province's ability to deliver efficient, evidence-based energy programs. Given today's report, The Society is calling on the government to abandon these unhelpful changes to the long-term planning process that were embedded in the government's previous Independent Electricity Systems Operator-Ontario Power Authority merger legislation, Bill 75.

"The problem isn't with the merger itself, which might actually achieve efficiencies," said Travers. "Bill 75 included a lot of unnecessary baggage that would reduce the amount of public input, transparency and accountability in the planning process. We are confident that Minister Chiarelli, who was not involved in the drafting of Bill 75 or gas plant decision-making, will find a way of achieving institutional efficiencies without compromising the integrity of the planning process."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents 8,300 knowledge workers and supervisors employed by 13 employers that are responsible for the generation, transmission and regulation of energy in Ontario in both the broader public and private sectors.

SOURCE: The Society of Energy Professionals

For further information:

Contact:  

Scott Travers, President, The Society of Energy Professionals, (416) 729-8818

Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, Communications Officer, The Society of Energy Professionals, (647) 500-2394, adam@thesociety.ca

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