Energy Policy: A Brighter Future Takes Planning
Energy policy in Ontario includes electricity generation, transmission and conservation as well as energy-related facilities including renewable energy sources. Municipal concerns about energy are two-fold. First, as large consumers of energy for public facilities, energy prices impact municipal budgets. Second, energy policies impact large industrial consumers and residential customers, who are both critical ratepayers in the community. As a result, municipal governments need a voice in energy policy.
AMO believes that the best approach to managing energy is long-term system planning that takes into account social and environmental policy, as well as financial and economic impacts. Due to the implications of provincial energy policy on municipal governments, AMO continues to advocate on a number of key items:
Energy Pricing & Distribution
- With the release of the provincial Climate Change Action Plan, the Province must provide more information about energy costs, savings, projections and assumptions to encourage energy conservation.
- Municipal governments, local businesses and citizens all require more practical incentives to increase.
- Local residents and businesses should be provided with a comprehensive, proactive electricity education strategy to improve Ontarians’ overall energy literacy.
- AMO supports recent efforts to encourage Municipal Energy Plans, the use of local improvement charges to promote green energy and the expansion of the Green Button program, which provides electricity data to consumers.
Regional Energy System Planning
- Energy pricing policy should be reformed and conservation programs should be maintained to ensure conservation actions are rewarded.
- Across the province high energy rates and connection fees are resulting in a negative impact on attracting and retaining industry.
- Create opportunity for the savings that come from “shoulder to shoulder” service delivery.
- Streamline the local distribution company/Hydro One services where inconsistencies occur so customers on one side of a street do not have higher rates than the other.
- Support local generation projects in a way that meets local community energy needs, recognizing that municipal ownership of energy generation and distribution reduces the need to transmit power long distances, creates local jobs and contributes to a stable energy system.
- Eliminate the walls between electricity, natural gas and other sources of energy and move towards more integrated and longer term planning.
- Use municipalities’ broad knowledge for regional energy planning and realize the benefits and savings of shared energy services and programs amongst local distribution companies.
- Include a life-cycle cost analysis of energy projects so Ontarians can clearly understand the costs and benefits of planned investments and how specific projects fit into our energy system.
AMO has also advocated for public and transparent reporting on the potential sale of any government asset (not just Hydro One). The Province must show that they are fully dedicated to the Province’s $131 billion 10-year infrastructure fund, $31 billion of which is for municipal infrastructure. AMO will continue to work towards a system of electricity delivery that is efficient and allows for economic development in a way that benefits the public good.