Outrage not justified on Ontario electricity prices

This article by Ontario Research Chair Jatin Nathwani originally appeared on TVO’s Current Affairs website here. 

The red-hot outrage over electricity prices in Ontario is a noisy attempt to shape a political narrative of discontent. It is misleading because the hype has a tenuous link to the facts.

Although actual electricity price increases over the past decade have been higher than the consumer price index, they are directly tied to a massive investment, on the order of $50 billion, for the renewal of Ontario’s aging electricity infrastructure.

electricity towers and wires in a field against sunset sky

If the debt obligation of such an investment were to come at zero cost, then pigs could fly as well. The relevant questions are: What did we get for this investment? And, given the costs are real, is there a way to give relief to customers most affected by the price increases?

We now have a cleaner electricity system. Removing coal, a cheap but dirty source of power from Ontario’s supply mix, brings a positive environmental dividend, better air quality (no smog days), and a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation — now 80 per cent lower than in 2006. Reducing the health care costs of poor air quality is a separate but important part of the benefit calculus that is entirely ignored in this discussion…

Read the full article by Ontario Research Chair Jatin Nathwani on TVO’s website here.

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