Some of the opponents of green energy have been saying that Ontario’s residential electricity prices are the second highest in North America. This was repeated as recently as last week by Gwyn Morgan in a column in the Globe and Mail. Gwyn Morgan is the former CEO of the natural gas producer, Encana, and currently chair of SNC Lavalin. It surprised me to hear that Ontario’s electricity prices were the second highest in North America (after PEI), so I decided to do some research.
My brother Jim lives on Long Island. So I asked him to send me copy of a power bill. The bill showed consumption of 440 kWh, and the total price was $89.18, or 20.2 cents/kWh. Then I pulled out one of my bills, which had consumption of 382 kWh, for a total price including taxes of $73.51, or 19.3 cents per kWh. So my price per kWh delivered was 5% less than my brother’s. So the statement that Ontario’s electricity prices are the second highest in North America is simply not true. I found it to be untrue at the first place I checked. This is a recurring pattern with the forces against green energy – truth seems to be unimportant to them.
When you think further about it, though, the difference between the bills becomes more significant. After all, my bill includes the 13% HST, and his bill includes only a 2.5% sales tax – a full 10% difference. But my taxes pay for my health care. My brother has to buy health care. So not only do I pay less for electricity, I also receive more benefit from the taxes that are levied on the bill.
But lets suppose you do believe that our electricity prices are too high. What are the sources of that cost? It turns out that nuclear is responsible for 45% of recent cost increases, and renewable energy has been responsible for 6%. This is found in a recently released report prepared for the Ontario Energy Board, and blogged about here.
Truth matters. And Ontario’s retail electricity prices are not highest or second highest in North America. And green energy is only a small part of the cost.