The Ontario Energy Board has an impressive Mandate which states; “The Ontario Energy Board oversees the province’s electricity and natural gas sectors through effective, fair and transparent regulation and in accordance with the objectives set out in the governing statutory framework.”
The foregoing evokes a warm and fuzzy feeling particularly where the OEB speak to “fair and transparent regulation” however the OEB’s current view of “fair and transparent” is not quite fair or transparent. A recent example of that is their announcement that time-of-use (TOU) rate increases would be “approximately $3.99 on the “Electricity” line, or about 3.3% on the total monthly bill, for a residential consumer with a typical consumption pattern who uses 800 kWh per month.”
If that “typical” residential consumer understands his bill he will discern that the “electricity line” typically represents about 45% of his bill with the balance (55%) made up of the “regulatory”, “delivery” and “stranded debt charges” That 3.3% increase is in reality a 7% increase in the electricity line and with the TOU rates reset every 6 months the 7% increase is a 14% annualized increase. The “trickle down” effect is also not dealt with in the OEB’s announcement as an increase in the “electricity price” increases the HST payment.
For the OEB to cite transparency in their “Mandate” then put out an announcement that seeks to trivialize or hide the actual increase indicates they are either being directed to do so or, their reputed transparency is Orwellian.
The new agency would eliminate duplication and save ratepayers up to $25 million a year.It would allow for a more seamless and co-ordinated approach to planning as Ontario integrates new renewable energy projects into the grid and shuts down its last coal-fired plants by the end of 2014.
You could read the full release here
The Ontario government appears set to announce a merger of its two big energy-planning agencies.
Sources say that Energy Minister Chris Bentley, who has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday morning, will unveil a merger of the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator.
While the merger is likely to produce limited savings, it stands to have considerable symbolic value as Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals try to show their commitment to getting the province’s troubled finances in order.