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Power plant cancellation could cost $1 billion; Smith calls for an election

Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith is joining opposition colleagues in calling for an election after learning Tuesday the Oakville gas plant cancellation could cost more than $1 billion.

The 2010 decision to cancel a planned gas-fired power plant in Oakville and move it to Napanee may cost Ontarians $675 million, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said Tuesday, and that figure could rise by up to another $140 million for gas deliveries to the new site. “The cost is significantly more than may have been necessary,” Lysyk said after releasing a special report on the cancellation costs. “A number of questionable decisions made along the way contributed to this situation.”

“The government has repeatedly refused to be upfront about the cost of cancelling the cost of this plant.” the Prince Edward-Hastings MPP said in a release. “A year ago, Kathleen Wynne was saying that Oakville might cost as little as $33 million, now we find out the cost is going to be at least 20 times that number.”

In her briefing after releasing the report, Lysyk said, “As a result, hydro customers will be paying higher prices for electricity in the future.”

The report estimates the total cost of cancelling the plant could reach $1.112 billion, but would be offset by estimated future savings of $437 million, for a net cost of $675 million over 20 years. However, that total could rise by another $140 million because of a possible increase in tolls relating to the delivery of gas to Napanee.

“There is one recourse here, that is to just call an election,” Smith said. “For more than a year the people of Ontario have been told a story not in keeping with the whole truth when it comes to what happened in Mississauga and Oakville. This government has shown contempt for the House, contempt for the truth and contempt for taxpayers. It’s time for Ontarians to get the chance to render a judgment on this government.”

Kathleen Wynne, in the Premier’s Statement on the auditor general’s report, explained that in 2010 and 2011, the government listened to the advice of experts and began to build gas fired power plants on locations in Oakville and Mississauga over the objections of local residents.

“Over time, it became evident that the concerns of the residents in those communities were legitimate,” Wynne said. “The government listened to those concerns and cancelled those power plants for relocation elsewhere – all parties agreed with those decisions.

“Estimates vary, including today’s estimate from the Auditor General, of what this will cost over the next 20 years, but all of them are unacceptably large. Money is too tight for tax dollars to be spent in any way that is not productive.

“As a member of the cabinet under which this happened, I take full responsibility and offer a full apology. As a new Premier leading a new government, I pledge to you that this will not happen under my watch. My new government has the energy and idealism that is the enemy of these kinds of errors. We will introduce new rules, based on the findings of the Auditor General, to make sure this never happens again…

“Firstly, we will improve the siting of large energy infrastructure projects by implementing the recommendations of the Ontario Power Authority and the Independent Electricity System Operator. Communities will have a say at the beginning. We need to ensure that we get the siting decisions right the first time.

“Secondly, I have asked the Secretary of Cabinet to create new rules limiting political staff involvement in commercial, third-party transactions. Next week, we will release a policy statement so new rules can be put in place as soon as possible.”

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Anon says:

    Note the word ‘could’ in “plant cancellation could cost $1 billion”. Many media articles are using the word ‘could’. The Liberals are spinning the true cost of cancellation downward, and the Conervatives and NDP are spinning it high. What is the true cost of cancellation?

  2. Loretta Salet says:

    Opps – last line should read:

    How much will it cost us to sell off the electricity (produced by the new Napanee plant) because we can’t use it?

  3. Loretta Salet says:

    We don’t need gas powered plants. We don’t need wind turbines and solar plants being built now where we gaurentee purchasing whatever they produce, whenever they produce it, becuase we have too much electricity capacity. Even at the hottest peak this summer we did not reach total capacity. We are selling off electricity and loosing $$$$, about 1.2 Billion in 2012. Does anyone have the figures for the first half of 2013? Our focus is being misidrected by whether the cancellatio of the plant cost $675Million or more. Why put a gas powered plant in Napanee when the Lennox Addington power generation plant sits idle? How much will it cost us to off the electricity it produces because we don;t need it?

  4. Matt Helm says:

    @ judy kennedy

    “Billy would have done it” is an excuse that doesn’t work for a six year-old who throws a rock through a window, it doesn’t was for a 60 year-old Premier either.

  5. judy kennedy says:

    This is such bs. The opposition parties were the ones who complained about the plant in the first place. How soon we forget! Yes, it was wrong to cancel and bow to public pressure.. Wait a minute, there’s something familiar about that……….

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