Ontario’s big industries plead for lower hydro rates – by John Spears (Toronto Star – February 26, 2014)

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Province’s industries pay highest electricity rates in North America, says survey by big power consumers.

Ontario industries pay more for electricity than their competitors elsewhere in North America, according to a survey by Ontario’s biggest power users. That’s creating a growing risk of industries and jobs bypassing Ontario for lower-cost jurisdictions, says the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario (AMPCO).

The survey was to be posted on AMPCO’s website Wednesday. http://www.ampco.org/  Ontario industries pay 7.6 cents to 9.4 cents a kilowatt hour for electricity, according to the survey, based on 2012 power prices.

That’s higher than big U.S. jurisdictions, where the price at the time of the survey averaged 5.6 cents a kilowatt hour in New York, 5.4 cents in six New England states, 4.5 cents in 14 jurisdictions clustered around Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland, and 3.2 cents in a group of 15 midwestern states. (All prices in Canadian dollars.)

Ontario’s power prices are higher than those in neighbouring provinces as well, the survey found. In Quebec, with its big hydro facilities, industries paid 4.5 cents a kilowatt hour. In Manitoba, which is also hydro-rich, the price was 3.6 cents.

Power prices on Ontario’s wholesale electricity market are relatively low, AMPCO notes (although this winter’s cold weather has driven prices higher).

But industries pay a hefty extra fee called the global adjustment, which covers the above-market prices paid to many privately owned electricity generators, to renewable power sources and to some of Ontario Power Generation’s facilities.

The global adjustment, plus delivery and regulatory charges, push Ontario prices above those of its neighbours, says AMPCO.

Its members include large mining, forestry, manufacturing, chemical and cement firms.

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