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Ontario Energy Policy Brief – Liberal Majority Edition

When Andrea Horwath filed a non-confidence motion voting down Kathleen Wynne’s budget, it sparked the fire that led to the 2014 provincial election. While the election is now over, the results were a surprise to many. With the Liberals securing a majority government, it appears that Horwath’s move has backfired for the NDP party – despite getting 4 more seats, they will undoubtedly have less power and influence over the province. Wynne has indicated that she intends to hit the ground running. She is already scheduled to re-convene legislature on July 2nd. This will, in turn, allow Wynne to move forward with her proposed budget.

Each party had highly varying views on energy policy for the province, leaving a number of constituents concerned for different reasons.  Some were worried about the Conservative party’s position on FiT contracts, and that many of the recent changes approved by the Liberals might be reversed if the Conservatives or NDP had won. Now that the dust has settled, I think we are safe to say there will not be any knee-jerk reactions. Aside from another Liberal minority, this is the closest to status quo we could have gotten.  Now that the election is over, we can be confident that the Long Term Energy Plan, ‘Achieving Balance’, published by Bob Chiarelli and the Liberals in December 2013, will move forward along the same trajectory as before the election. If anything, with the majority government, the LTEP will earn even more conviction as the Liberals no longer have to team up with another party to move forward with their proposed initiatives.

Below are some of the key pieces from the Liberal Budget which the NDP did not support on May 2, 2014.

Commercial/Industrial:

  • Lower the threshold for Class A consumers to 3MW. This is projected to save participants an average of 15-20% on their energy bill. If you are in this consumption range, please contact us to see if we can save you even more!
  • Expand the demand response program.
  • Promote the use of “Roving Energy Managers”. This is a great program that provides resources to business operators in order to help them save money.
  • Status quo. No major shocks or changes which will negatively affect commercial/ industrial energy buyers.

Residential:

  • Remove the Debt Retirement charge from residential bills as of January 2016. This is estimated to save households ~$70 / year.
  • Reduce average household energy use by 15% through conservation.
  • Status quo. No major changes or shocks to residential buyers.

The Power System:

  • Commit to 20 GW of renewable generation online by 2025. This includes cheap hydro-electricity, solar, wind, and bio-gas.
  • Invest in major transmission projects for rural Ontario.

All in all, it was an historic election, as we welcome the first female Premier of Ontario. Energy users can likely rest easy, as there will not be any major shocks to the power system, and for the most part, status quo will continue.

If you are an energy manager looking for options to reduce your electricity consumption, spending, or volatility, give me or one of my teammates a call at (416) 867-2927, and we can open up our Energy Toolbox to help you save!

Keep an eye out for part two of the election series, where I break down what effects the Liberal majority government will have on your electricity price.