Consumer Policy Institute is part of a diverse group of energy consumers, producers and distributors from across Ontario that has released eight recommendations to guide decisions about the future of Ontario’s electricity system.
Today, the Ontario Electricity Stakeholders Alliance, a group of energy consumers, businesses, producers and distributors from across Ontario, joined together to announce its Power Framework to ensure smart electricity decisions.
With eight recommendations, the Power Framework provides the roadmap Ontario needs for smart electricity decisions through the principles of transparency, competition, objectivity and independence.
All three main political parties have at one point in Ontario’s history struggled tremendously with energy planning. With coming technological change about to make electricity planning even more complex, the Ontario Electricity Stakeholders Alliance is asking each party to commit to this framework, which focuses on:
• Transparency: A plan to restore confidence in an open, accountable system with an engaged Legislature and rules that respect the public’s right to be informed;
• Competition: A commitment to competitive processes that help support lower costs for both government and electricity consumers;
• Objectivity: A commitment to smart electricity decisions informed by rigorous cost-benefit analysis, objective procurement criteria and competitive processes that ensure Ontario ratepayers are getting the best value; and
• Independence: A process where independent agencies like the IESO, OEB and Ontario Electricity Safety Alliance are appropriately resourced to make independent decisions and held accountable by the provincial Legislature.
Ontario’s electricity sector governance and planning framework should be revised to reflect these fundamental principles. This will help ensure the sector’s cost effectiveness, reliability and ability to adapt. Decisions about Ontario’s electricity system have far-reaching implications, impacting the province’s economic strength and prosperity for years to come, and are fundamental to the realizations of the province’s ambitions.
All Ontarians have a shared stake in this framework and its objectives. The Ontario Electricity Stakeholders Alliance is fully committed to working with all private and public stakeholders to advance this framework.
About the Ontario Electricity Stakeholders Alliance
The Ontario Electricity Stakeholders Alliance is a diverse group of energy consumers, businesses, producers and distributors from across Ontario. The alliance is made up of industry associations, consumer groups, boards of trade, and leaders from Ontario’s business community.
The Eight Recommendations
Principle 1: Transparency
A plan to restore confidence in an open, accountable system with an engaged provincial Legislature and system-wide rules that respect the public’s right to be informed:
1. Government should provide broad, overall electricity policy direction and goals. This should include economic, environment, social or other objectives. The overall policy direction should be tabled by the government for consideration by the Legislature.
2. To ensure transparency and affirm independence, the IESO and OEB should have to disclose the subject matter and attendees of any meetings with provincial government officials in a timely manner
3. Long term electricity planning should incorporate the overall policy direction of the government.
Principle 2: Competition
A commitment to competitive processes that help support lower costs for both government and electricity consumers:
4. Competitive processes, wherever feasible, should be used for the procurement of any new system capacity or energy in the future.
Principle 3: Objectivity
A commitment to smart electricity decisions informed by rigorous cost-benefit analysis and objective procurement criteria that ensure Ontario ratepayers are getting the best value:
5. Policies and programs to achieve climate change objectives should be compared and evaluated based on their economy wide costs and benefits, and not be targeted specifically to the energy sector in isolation from other sectors.
6. Electricity procurement and system design decisions should require objective criteria, comparison of alternatives, cost benefit analysis, robust and open stakeholder and public participation processes, consideration of economic impacts across the province and be consistent with planning for other government programs and policies.
Principle 4: Independence
Implementation of government policy direction should be left to properly resourced independent agencies like the IESO, OEB and Ontario Electricity Safety Authority who can be held accountable by the provincial Legislature:
7. As an essential condition for improved decision making, the government should reinvigorate independent sector oversight with an appropriately resourced Ontario Energy Board.
8. The implementation and oversight of electricity and natural gas energy system planning should be the responsibility of independent regulatory agencies, such as the Independent Electricity System Operator, the Ontario Energy Board and the Ontario Electricity Safety Authority.
For any media inquiries, please contact:
Economist and Executive Director
Consumer Policy Institute
(416) 964-9223 ext 236