Ontario Power Generation’s Efficiency

People in the utility often talk about the efficiency of power production. But one measure of efficiency is output per worker. OPG has just released some facts about the company for 2013.

OPG has 11,500 workers, all very well paid. By comparison, Bruce Power has 4300 workers, also very well paid.

OPG’s output in 2013 was 80,300 GWh. 44,700 of this was nuclear, 32,800 GWh was water power, and the balance was thermal (mainly coal).

By contrast Bruce Power’s output was 45,600 GWh, all nuclear.

Generally speaking, waterpower takes a lot less staff to operate that nuclear. Or at least it should. There is no refueling required, the work environment is not dangerous – no need for a geiger counter, or tracking employees radiation exposure etc. So I would have expected OPG to have greater output per employee.

But this is not the case. Bruce Power’s output is 10.6 GWh/employee, compared to OPG’s 6.98 GWh/employee. OPG’s output is 1/3 less than the output per employee at Bruce Power.

OPG has applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for a 30% increase in power prices to pay for the refurbishment of their Darlington nuclear plant. But it seems to me that staff costs are bloated, and need drastic reductions. The cost of extra well paid employees, and their publicly funded pension (OPG workers contribute less that one fifth of their pension – the rest is paid for by the publicly owned OPG) is a major contributor to our power prices.

The OEB should ask for cost reductions, and large ones, before approving any increase in prices for OPG.

OPG earned a paltry 1.5% return on equity in 2013.

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