Northwest Ontario wants regional power pricing – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – December 7, 2018)

The abundance of hydro-electric power generation in northwestern Ontario has community leaders calling on Queen’s Park for a regional electricity pricing system to attract industry. The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) is endorsing a proposal from the energy task force of Common Voice Northwest, a public policy think-tank.

“NOMA Board and most residents of the Northwest believe strongly that they should receive the benefit of the low-cost hydro-electric generation scattered throughout the region rather than being forced to pay the higher blended price applied to the entire province,” said NOMA president Wendy Landry in a Dec. 6 statement.

Zonal, or regional pricing, regime was being studied earlier this year by the province’s Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO). It was part of a larger review of the method by which Ontario structures its wholesale electricity rates. The review finished in November.

After researching to understand the ramifications of zonal pricing, NOMA claims customers in the region could see their electricity bill reduced by 20 per cent if regional pricing was implemented.

A letter penned to the IESO by Common Voice argues that northwestern Ontario has historically been on an energy “island” even after the region was connected to the rest of the province when the East-West Tie to Wawa was constructed years ago.

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