Risky Electricity Plan Will Cost Consumers Billions



    TORONTO, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - The Ontario Power Authority's (OPA) new
electricity plan will damage this province's economy, cost unsuspecting
consumers billions unnecessarily and increase the likelihood of more
blackouts, says the Power Workers' Union.
    "This plan means even higher prices for consumers and manufacturers. It
represents a serious undermining of Ontario's economic future as a centre of
manufacturing," said Don MacKinnon, Power Workers' Union President. "It
appears by the lower load forecast that the OPA expects the province to
continue hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs."
    Ontario has lost more than 150,000 manufacturing jobs since 2002, due in
part to rising energy costs. In Northern Ontario, the forestry sector has seen
a loss of 11,000 direct and 30,000 related jobs, costing the economy nearly
$1 billion.
    The OPA's 20-year Integrated Power System Plan, released August 30, 2007,
is expected to cost nearly $60 billion and lead to much higher electricity
bills.
    "The OPA plan is too dependent upon hypothetical conservation, demand
management and higher cost natural gas generation," continued MacKinnon.
"There's no accountability for results or costs in this plan. The consumer is
the scapegoat - reduce your consumption by 20 per cent or suffer the
consequences - and by the way you'll pay a lot more for your trouble."
    Since 2003, electricity prices have risen nearly 30 per cent. A recent
CIBC World Markets Report suggests that based on current energy policies -
electricity prices in Ontario will be 60 to 70 per cent higher than 2003 by
2015.
    MacKinnon notes "Even the plans for nuclear energy don't go far enough.
The province needs to raise the 14,000 MW cap and start building new units
right away to allow for the construction timelines.
    "Coal-fuelled power is crucial - we need to clean up the coal stations,
not close them," he added.
    The results of retrofitting Ontario's coal plants with clean-coal
technology have already been proven with previous investments by the province.
Continuing this program could achieve emission reductions sooner and at a
substantially lower cost. Greenhouse gas emissions from the coal stations can
be reduced by mixing CO(2) neutral biomass-wood pellets, straw, flour milling
waste and municipal waste - with the coal. Upgrading turbine equipment and
utilizing the waste heat for district heating can also improve fuel
efficiencies. All of these initiatives provide Ontario with the opportunity to
become a world leader in the field of clean coal technologies.
    "Over 1,000 new coal plants will be built around the world in the next
few decades. Coal's availability and low cost, as well as rapid advancements
in new technologies such as coal gasification, are driving this trend," added
MacKinnon. "Ontario has the expertise we need to create value added
manufacturing jobs for Ontarians but the government's plan will not get us
there."

    For more information on the PWU's Better Energy Plan, please visit
www.abetterenergyplan.ca. The Power Workers' Union is the largest electricity
union in Ontario, representing employees in electricity generation,
transmission, distribution, regulations and research and development.





For further information:

For further information: Alison Crocker, Media Profile, (416) 898-2725,
crocker@mediaprofile.com

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