Realistic Conservation Targets

The government contends that conservation measures such as smart meters and demand management have saved over 1,900 megawatts of electricity but has not provided specific details on what has worked, what has not worked and what the total costs are to date.

 
  • In the 2013 version of the Long-Term Energy Plan, conservation is touted as the most “cost effective” investment Ontario can make address the province’s electricity needs.
  • According to Statistics Canada, Ontario has lost more than 250,000 manufacturing jobs between 2003 and 2012. Some of the pressure on manufacturing has come from rising electricity prices.
  • Experience with conservation investments in other jurisdictions shows that changing consumer behaviour requires substantial financial investments sustained over a long period of time.
  • Higher electricity prices are recognized as a key incentive for consumers to change their behavior but ironically, when Ontario consumers reacted negatively to rising electricity prices, the province introduced the Clean Energy Benefit customer rebate program which costs taxpayers $1 billion a year.
  • Recovery in the manufacturing sector, growth in other sectors of the economy, the increasing electrification of Ontario’s transportation system and a projected population increase of 3.9 million people by 2036 will cause electricity demand to rise again.