$3.1 Billion Loss When Exporting Hydro. Question Period May 16, 2016

Ontario Hansard – 16-May2016 ENERGY POLICIES

Mr. Peter Tabuns: My question is to the Minister of Energy. Last week, the Minister of Energy told this House that Ontario earns a net profit from the surplus electricity that we export to other jurisdictions. He said the IESO will confirm that last year we made a net profit of $350 million. Speaker, this would be an astonishing reversal of what the Auditor General described in her most recent report. She said that between 2009 and 2014 Ontario was paid $3.1 billion less for its electricity exports than what we paid to generate that power. That is a net loss of $3.1 billion. Why is the minister still using the term “net profit” to describe billions of dollars in net losses?

Hon. Bob Chiarelli: The import/export of electricity is the responsibility, in terms of governance, of the Independent Electricity System Operator, the IESO. They trade in electricity imports and exports on a daily basis, as do all of our surrounding jurisdictions: New York state, Quebec, Manitoba etc. We work amongst ourselves.

You often hear about selling or giving electricity away, Mr. Speaker. That does occasionally happen. But we never hear of the times that we sell it to Quebec, for example, and earn $15 million or $20 million in three or four days, when they’re short of electricity in the wintertime

They will indicate that there was a net benefit last year of $320 million on the import and export of electricity, and that supports the quote that I often use from the third-party former Minister of Energy.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: Speaker, in the past the minister has had to stand in this House and withdraw the claim that Ontario was making a profit on these sales. He has had to withdraw.

According to the IESO, last year Ontario exported nearly 22,600 gigawatt hours of electricity. According to the minister himself, the average cost of producing that electricity was $83 per megawatt hour, so the total cost to generate that exported electricity can be roughly estimated at about $1.9 billion.

Will the minister either confirm that Ontario exported electricity last year at a price that was $350 million above the amount it cost ratepayers to pay for it, or will he withdraw his statement that Ontarians earn a net profit on electricity exports and stop misleading the House?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.

The member will withdraw.
Mr. Peter Tabuns: No. I told the truth.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I advise the member to withdraw.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: No.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): If the member does not withdraw, I will name him. The member from Toronto-Danforth is named.

Mr. Tabuns was escorted from the chamber.