Wednesday, December 9, 2015

consumers get a hero: Niagara On-The-Lake Hydro Board challenges Minister of Energy to Debate

Stories of courage in servicing consumers are rare in Ontario's electricity sector.
The following is the entirety of a news release from Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro Inc. (NOTL)

Shrewd observers may realize, at the end, this local distribution company (LDC) delivers power to it's typical customer far more economically than many Ontario LDC's.
It is clear why - perhaps consumers of other LDC's should send this to their LDC and the Ontario Energy Board to ask why NOTL is not one of many organizations publicly challenging the Energy Minister.

December 09, 2015 06:00 ET

NOTL Hydro Board challenges Minister of Energy to Debate

Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro Provides 11 Recommendations on Reducing the Cost of Electricity

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON--(Marketwired - December 09, 2015) - The Board of Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro would like to invite and challenge the Minister of Energy to a public debate on the historical, present and future plans on how to get the cost of electricity down and more manageable for the average consumer. Discussions and input from all interested parties are welcome.

The recently released Report of the Ontario Auditor General (AG report) has highlighted significant mismanagement of the electricity industry in Ontario that has substantially increased the cost of electricity to our customers. To reduce the current and future cost of electricity, it is clear that immediate and drastic actions are required.

As a local electricity distribution company, Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro deals directly with the electricity consumer and sees the challenges the high prices are causing. Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro therefore recommends the following immediate actions to assist our customers.
  1. Immediately cancel the FIT and MicroFIT programs and immediately cease signing any new contracts. We cannot afford any more above market costs to be built into future pricing.
  2. Calculate and transfer the present value of the excess pricing in the existing FIT and MicroFIT contracts to the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation (OEFC) in a manner similar to that done with Ontario Hydro and the Non-Utility Generation contracts at the time of the market opening. This would remove these costs from the current pricing.
  3. Re-instate the Debt Retirement Charge for residential customers. It was never right just to eliminate this for residential and not business customers. This charge will be needed to pay down the above excess pricing cost (Recommendation #2) for years and decades to come. Annual transparent reporting from the OEFC will be required to show how this new debt is being paid down.
  4. Stop all provincial Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs. This will save $300 million per year per the AG report. CDM Is not needed in a surplus environment and consumers will undertake their own CDM activities based on market prices.
  5. Review the pricing of exports. While we have no experience in this area other experts have suggested that better prices could be obtained on the excess generation we are forced to export through more pro-active management of this activity.
  6. Eliminate the Meter Data Management and Repository (MDM/R). This is a redundant service whose cost is part of the Wholesale Market Service Rate on the customer bill. Local distribution companies get the needed information elsewhere.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Nuclear Ontario: province contracts Bruce Power through 2064

Bruce Power and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) have entered into an amended, long-term agreement to secure 6,300 megawatts of electricity from the Bruce Power site, through a multi-year investment program.
In 2005, Bruce Power entered into the Bruce Power Refurbishment Implementation Agreement (BPRIA) to enable the restart of Bruce Units 1 and 2, to return the site to its full operating capacity of eight units. The amended agreement entered into today will enable the company to progress with a series of incremental life-extension investments, including refurbishment, to secure a clean, reliable and affordable source of electricity for Ontario families and businesses for decades to come, as outlined in Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP).
That begins Bruce Power's release on the agreement.
Transcanada Corporation, owner of nearly half of Bruce Power, has also issued an informative news release.

In April I'd written on the pace of the negotiations, and some issues related to refurbishment scheduling. This agreement, it seems to me, recognizes the value of Bruce Power's initiatives in extending the pre-refurbishment life of the reactors.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Better Electricity Reporting includes distributed solar

A big report is out in Ontario today, and a post by the American Energy Information Administration (EIA) deals with one point I'd like to discuss from it.

The Ontario Report is the Annual Report from the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario (the Auditor's report), and the chapter of primary interest to me was Section 3.05: Electricity Power System Planning. I think the report is fine - a few things I could argue about over pints with friends, but it's a very solid report.

I was reminded, by reading it, of astute articles from the people I've come to respect a great deal; some of which I've taking liberally from in my writing. One case in point is a graphic in the Auditor's report and one I'd created for a report by stealing Bruce Sharp's methodology:

The figure on the left is from the Auditor's report; the one on the right from my Better Reporting of Ontario's Electricity Generation. If you're not impressed (I am) maybe you are unaware that on the IESO's website they report solar generation of 0.0185 TWh for 2014, so estimating 1.7 TWh was not bad.
What's interesting is in the Auditor's report the source cited is the IESO!

I've been preaching reporting on distribution connected generation is desperately lacking in Ontario, so I have mixed feelings seeing the IESO has finally provided some figures at least this once.