Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jolly Green Gouging

There are few things more annoying than being billed for services or items never ordered or never wanted. The hassle of calling the biller, claiming ignorance of the charge, then asking for it to be removed always feels a bit like claiming innocence in a courtroom.

This past week consumers of electricity and taxpayers in Ontario, were told by the provicial Auditor General, that they are being gouged for services that very few of them would have chosen voluntarily. Unfortunately, there is no biller to call, the corrective 'fix' will not be simple, and the rip-off of Ontario's consumers will continue into the foreseeable future.

"Billions of dollars of new wind and solar power projects were approved without many of the usual planning, regulatory, and oversight processes....While this helped these projects get off the ground quickly, their high cost will add significantly to rate-payers’ electricity bills in the future.” That is from a media release by Auditor General Jim McCarter from his 2011 Annual Report.

In another media release, Jim McCarter points out that:“Because we all use electricity, and because the sector operates in a near monopoly, effective oversight...........has historically been crucial.” No kidding, and of course the Auditor's office is the last resort for oversight. You might wonder why the haste in getting these projects going, why skip over planning, consultation etc.? Never does McCarter suggest a reason for the haste and lack of oversight, because at the heart of his report he really does support and depend the government.

So what drives the decision making of the Ontario government because they will ignore this report? I suggest you spend a few moments listening and watching this short video. In it, David Suzuki hero of environmental concerns, clues us all in to whom he has been talking to about Ontario's new green energy future. What's most interesting is Suzuki's concern for sound economics, and how he uses Europe as the model for our green future; the video is slightly dated. Well, we all can see what's happening to Europe today, and the McGuinty Liberals are doing the same sorts of things right here in Ontario.

McGuinty and his Liberals have swallowed hook-line-and-sinker, the idea that humans are the cause of global warming, and Ontarian's in particular. Under the direction of the Premier, cheap coal fired thermal generation stations have been, and are being closed across the province and replaced with costly and uneconomic wind and solar power. Programs like the FIT and MicroFIT are being used to prop up these alternative sources of energy, all at huge cost, according to the Auditor's report.

In an editorial this week, the National Post pulls no punches in lambasting the McGuinty Liberals for its failed energy and environmental policy. Libertarians are frequently criticized for their ideological bias in politics and economics. This of course is a bit like criticizing a tiger for eating meat. No one in the media dares call the Liberal government ideologically driven, no-siree, but of course it is no less ideological than are Libertarians. Spend a few minutes listening to McGuinty's mentor Suzuki, then tell me there is no ideology there.

Strangely, on the same day as the Auditor's report, our Federal Conservative government has decided that it will not renew its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. Ontario seems to be going one way, while the Feds are going the other. Why is Ontario being burdened with huge costs from a monopoly service determined to cut carbon emissions, while the rest of the country seems to be ignoring the issue? Why are the citizens of Ontario being gouged in their monthly electricity bills? Why has McGuinty not yet resigned for incompetence? It's not too late.  

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