Monday, May 29, 2017

thuggish Premiers and faked electricity rates

“You all read the newspaper, you listen to the radio and you watch television — you know the problems that families are having around the province paying for their electricity costs,” the premier told reporters...  -
The current Premier of Ontario is Kathleen Wynne has a Fair Hydro Plan (FHP). The freshly released legislation enabling the implementation of the FHP will soon be rushed through into law - assuming there's not four decent Liberal members of the Ontario legislature to vote against it.

In the few days since the legislation the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario produced An Assessment of the Fiscal Impact of the Province’s Fair Hydro Plan:
The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) estimates that the proposed Fair Hydro Plan (FHP), consisting of the provincial HST rebate, electricity cost refinancing, and changes to electricity relief programs, will cost the Province $45 billion over 29 years while providing overall savings to eligible electricity ratepayers of $24 billion. This results in a net cost to Ontarians of $21 billion.
That doesn't seem "Fair". While polling suggests the vote buying scheme is working, there is growing evidence that sleazy disregard for responsibility is corrupting the public sector entities involved in the electricity system.t.

Rates were escalated to the point the current Premier felt action had to be taken quite deliberately, by the Premier's office meddling in the sector. Long-Term Energy Plans (LTEPs) are government policy documents that were originally intended to provide parameters to professional electricity sector planners. The following graph shows the forecast nominal rates from 2010 and 2013 LTEPs, as well as the pricing shown in a recently leaked cabinet document [1]

The graphic shows the average monthly costs exactly as reported without attempting adjustments for differences introduced to keep the rate in 2016 below what was planned, which include calculating at 750 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month instead of 800, and ending the Debt Retirement Charge.  These small differences don't change the message families around the province should take from looking at government intervention in the sector since 2008: the people offering you a hand up are the people who knocked you down - and the hand they are offering is not their own.

This is thuggish

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

India's government approves construction of 10 nuclear reactors

India's government has approved construction of 10 nuclear reactors that will have a combined capacity of 7 GWe - essentially doubling the country's current nuclear capacity.

Cabinet approves construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR):
Boost to transform domestic nuclear industry 
In a significant decision to fast-track India’s domestic nuclear power programme, and give a push to country’s nuclear industry, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for construction of 10 units of India’s indigenous Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR). The total installed capacity of the Plants will be 7000 MW. The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.
India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come onstream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction. 
As the government marks three years of its nation and people centric governnace, in a first of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in fleet mode as a fully homegrown initiative. It would be one of the flagship “Make in India” projects in this sector.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fairly perverted: Ontario's "Fair Hydro Plan"

On March 2nd the Premier of Ontario introduced the "extend and pretend" plan to lower electricity rates for voters prior to the next election; on May 11th the government introduced its "Fair Hydro Act" bill shortly after the opposition Progressive Conservative's released an allegedly leaked cabinet document. The general content revealed contains some interesting details confirming what was suspected: the Premier's plan is cynical and irresponsible.

A quick refresher on events to date:

  • people are angered by electricity rates
  • there is an election in 2018
  • the Premier is unpopular
  • the Premier promised a 25% cut in rates.

On the original announcement in March: Extend and pretend: Ontario government acts to lower electricity bills 
This post will use some of the new material to emphasize why rates are high, what extending the payment period implies, and how the government intends on keeping the costs of the program off of the Province's balance sheet.

The Premier's "fair" plan isn't entirely about the cost of generation, although I'll concentrate on that. It includes moving some social costs off of ratepayers' bills and onto government expenditures, and abandons the provincial taxation share of the HST.  My reading of the new bill is that it mandates the reduction of Regulated Price Plan (RPP) rates be 25%. [1]

Now that we know the commodity portion of the bill is being reduced 25%, we can be more definitive about what is being subsidized, by whom, and the fairness of the policy.