End secret power deals, say energy professionals

TORONTO, Aug. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Secret Ontario-Quebec electricity negotiations raise red flags over politicized energy decisions, says The Society of Energy Professionals (SEP).

According to La Presse, ongoing negotiations between Ontario and Quebec would have Ontario quadrupling its Quebec power imports at a guaranteed and escalating price.  A draft agreement leaked to La Presse reveals a 20-year power-purchase deal worth over $12B that threatens the early closure of Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and the loss of 4,500 jobs in the Durham area.

"I certainly see Quebec's interests reflected in the deal," says Society of Energy Professionals (SEP) President Scott Travers, who is a professional engineer and MBA with three decades of experience in Ontario's energy sector. "Ontario's interests in this are not so clear.  This is not a deal that advances Ontario's emission reduction targets. It will increase costs to the ratepayer and hurt Ontario's economy.   All of the costs and risks seem to fall on Ontario."

In response to media reports, Ontario Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault made public his letter rejecting Hydro Quebec's proposed deal. SEP credits the Minister for turning down the proposal, and calls on the Minister to release his Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) before continuing any further negotiations.  The LTEP, while flawed in its development process, is a forward-looking document that is supposed to be updated every three years. Planning for the 2017 LTEP began with wide-ranging public consultation in October 2016 with an expected release date of spring 2017. However, release of the LTEP has been repeatedly delayed.

"The biggest mistakes come when politicians make big decisions without public, transparent and evidence-based scrutiny," says Travers.  "Ontario's electricity consumers are already reeling from the impact of a politicized policy environment.  To avoid making the same mistakes again the government ought to stop negotiating its own power deals and revert to long-term, evidence-based planning."

"Ontario needs to plan ahead but there is no need to do it in secret," says Travers. "The best decisions — technically and economically sound decisions that keep our energy system strong and protect ratepayers — are made in public so independent experts can challenge the merits of all proposals and ensure they stand up to scrutiny."

Society of Energy Professionals President Scott Travers is available to journalists for comment. Please use the contact information below.

SOURCE The Society of Energy Professionals

For further information: Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, adam@thesociety.ca, 647.500.2394

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