The Power Workers’ Union, representing the well-compensated workers at Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation, have run yet another full-page advertisement in the Toronto Star in an attempt to scare the public with talk of “big multi-nationals” and foreign “Trojan Horses” threatening in “stealth” to chip away at Hydro One’s iron grip on Ontario’s electricity system. Can we say paranoid?
You see, Hydro One and its union are complaining they can’t keep up with the demands of homeowners and farmers who want to connect their solar rooftop systems to the grid. Industry, in response, is wondering what gives? If Hydro One can’t do it — and many justifiably accuse the utility of intentionally dragging its feet — then let’s let other players come into the market that can do it. Of course, Hydro One doesn’t want that because it threatens its hegemony over the Ontario grid. Hydro One has had two years or more to prepare for the increased connection requests that were expected to come through the feed-in tariff program, yet it is acting now as a deer in the headlights that couldn’t possibly accommodate the influx without sacrificing grid reliability. It leads one to believe whether top officials and union leaders at this utility — which earns generous incomes through Ontario ratepayers (they seem to forget about this) — are intentionally delaying action in hopes that a Progressive Conservative government will be elected, after which they can continue with the status quo: nuclear and fossil fuel generation.
What gets me is the misinformation they’re prepared to spread through these full-page advertisements. Here’s one: “So far, the tens of billions Ontario has spent on intermittent wind and solar energy is not delivering the promised benefits to the environment or the economy.” Wha? Would be nice to see something backing up that claim. I mean, Ontario ratepayers only pay for the renewable energy they receive, and two, any capital costs have come from the private sector, not ratepayers, and these investments have created thousands of jobs — non-unionized jobs, which is what is ruffling the PWO’s feathers.
PWO is pro-nuclear, pro-centralized generation, and pro-big transmission at a time when the global electricity market is moving to become more decentralized and less carbon-intensive. It is a throwback to an earlier era, and it’s struggling to protect what it has and it won’t let the truth get in the way.
That’s the real threat to the future of Ontario’s electricity system, not green energy.