Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cooking up Energy Policy, With The Star

You cannot charge the Global Adjustment on Exports.
A couple of months ago I thought I’d take up blogging to work on my communication skills.  I had some interests – one of which was electricity policy, and another one is data.  I’ve been working on my cooking skills too.
I’m a harsh self critic, but things seem to be going pretty well.  Slow-cooking a small turkey went fabulously, and nothing says comfort quite like a pot roast with my Staub La Cocotte cookware.  For the blog, aside from improving my ability to communicate, I’d hoped to incite some curiousity, and hopefully some debate, about things I feel are impacting people.  And I have.

I wrote about some electricity records on January 3rd, and they hit the mainstream press about a week later.  John Spears ran with a spin, at the Star, on one of the records on the 11th.
I wrote a bratty response to the delayed media focus which I thought had been on the records, instead of the issues, as well as a follow-up attempting to display those records in the light of a long-term context, on the 18th, and Mr. Spears wrote on similar topics following on the 20th, and again on the 21st.
I was delighted to see experts are also busy trying to quantify the cost to Ontarians of exporting so much electricity.  As long as they are working at it anyway, here’s some simple premises I’m unlikely to be able to communicate – maybe the experts would like to try to cook something up on them:
The Global Adjustment figure is a measure of the dysfunction of the competitive market.  Higher figures show greater dysfunction.  Left alone, economic theory dictates the market would correct itself by weeding out the higher cost suppliers. 
These are the suppliers we have a preference for in Ontario.  Which is clearly stated, a clear choice, and I won’t say it is unfair at all.
But a policy that decreasing demand is good, and increasing supply is good, does lead to a dysfunctional market.  For the past number of years, for every 9 watts we needed, we’ve been purchasing 10.  The other we need to get rid of.   Our system couldn’t function without the export capability.
We need to sell the exports, but nobody needs to buy them. 
Mr. Spears opts to end his column with a quote from a Greg Baden, cited as being with an energy consultant;  “The solution is simply charging the global adjustment to the exports. You’ll be getting fair value for your energy.”
There is a market concept of a “fair value”. 
It’s the price.  Ontario can’t impose an additional charge on other jurisdictions!
There is an Ontario government concept of a “fair value” – that’s the issue.
A nice dance, but the problem is our energy supply policies have been cooked up in an Easy-Bake oven.  We are sucking on a raw turkey.


  1. I don't know about your cooking but there is nothing half baked about your numbers and logic. Your writing style has mellowed but no one should
    mistake the anger simmering in your Staub La Cocotte pot and the contempt for the Easy Bake
    oven mentality.

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