Industrial electricity discussed during consultation

In an effort to make their operations more efficient, some Southwestern Ontario business representatives gathered Friday to share their views with the province about electricity pricing and programs.

Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, left, was at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre with Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls on Friday to discuss electricity prices with industry stakeholders. (Trevor Terfloth/The Daily News)

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In an effort to make their operations more efficient, some Southwestern Ontario business representatives gathered Friday to share their views with the province about electricity pricing and programs.

Greg Rickford, the minister of energy, northern development and mines, was at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham for a session – one of several across the provice – with industry folk from the agricultural and chemical processing sectors.

“What we’re doing is a sector-by-sector consultation,” Rickford said during a media availability before the meeting. “We’re looking for meta themes … concerns about the price of electricity, problems and solutions that they may have.”

Other sectors being engaged in these meetings include automotive, forestry, mining, steel and manufacturing.

Rickford said the region is heavily involved with “energy-intensive” agriculture, such as greenhouses.

Rickford said the government has already taken steps to remove costs from the system, including cancelling renewable energy contracts and repealing the Green Energy Act.

Chatham-Kent-Leamington MPP Rick Nicholls said the province hopes to stem the loss of jobs, particularly in manufacturing, noting he’s seen “tail-lights” out of Ontario.

“We want to start seeing headlights,” he said. “We are open for business.”

The consultation questions are available online at www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-industrial-electricity-prices, with electronic submissions accepted until June 14.

tterfloth@postmedia.com

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Questions asked at the session

  • What impact has the Industrial Conservation Initiative had on your operations and business competitiveness?
  • How easy or difficult is it for you to lower consumption in potential peak hours in order to reduce global adjustment charges?
  • What changes, if any, could be made to ICI to improve fairness, industrial competitiveness or reduce red tape?
  • What are your thoughts on a rate mitigation program that is based on electricity intensity, trade exposure, or both?
  • Would you prefer a more dynamic pricing structure which allows for lower rates in return for responding to price signals or a flat rate structure that potentially costs more, but is more stable and predictable?
  • Some jurisdictions have offered targeted electricity programs, that use a competitive evaluation process, to achieve economic development objectives. In some jurisdictions, evaluations are based on elements such as job commitments and investments. From your perspective would such a program be beneficial in Ontario?
  • Electricity retailers currently have a limited role in Ontario’s electricity market. If the option were available, would your company consider entering into an all-in commodity contract with a retailer, even if it involved a risk premium?
  • What are your views regarding the proposed updates to the electricity market or procurement mechanisms being proposed by the Independent Electricity System Operator?

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