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Ontario sends conservation to the back of the bus – again

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In AWARE News Network
Apr 2nd, 2014
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by Angela Bischoff for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance 

Despite promising to put “Conservation First” the Wynne Government’s new conservation plan once again treats low-cost efficiency improvements as an afterthought. In its new conservation strategy, the government is capping the savings to be generated by utility conservation programs at less than 1% of total electricity usage over the next six years.

This is the kind of thinking that has led to Ontarians using 50% more energy per person than our neighbours in New York State. It has also fed rising bills as the government focuses on costly nuclear mega-projects instead of fully exploiting fast and cheap energy conservation.

The cap being put in place by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is certainly not going to help homeowners or businesses to bring down their utility bills. According to the Ontario Power Authority, the cost of our electric utilities’ energy conservation and efficiency programs will be just 3.5 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). That means saving a kWh will cost 50% less than Ontario Power Generation’s best-case estimate of the cost of generating power from a re-built Darlington Nuclear Station (8.3 cents per kWh). Why are we capping our use of a resource that can keep our lights on at less than half the cost of re-building Darlington?

Instead of protecting the interests of nuclear companies, Minister Chiarelli should be working with utilities to capture all of our cost-effective conservation potential, not just a fraction. That is, after all, what putting “Conservation First” means.

We need to tell Premier Wynne it’s time to take the brakes off and start catching up with our competitors when it comes to using energy efficiently.

Please click here to send a letter to the Premier and tell her that you want Ontario’s municipal utilities (e.g., PowerStream, Toronto Hydro) to be allowed to pursue all of the cost-effective energy conservation and efficiency measures that can reduce your electricity bills.

It’s time to really put consumers and conservation first.

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