Monday, October 21, 2013

A contest for Ontario's Smart Grid Makes the Province look stupid

October 1st;
In partnership with MaRS Discovery District, the Energy Apps for Ontario Challenge is offering $50,000 to support the best new apps that use electricity data collected by smart meters. link
Harmless sounding, but if you are an Ontarian capable of being embarrassed, here's a short review of the history that should embarrass you.
government graphic: spending on "smart" to help you decide on solar panels


Premier Dalton McGuinty makes smart metering a priority (2004):
Right now, most customers don't get a break on their bill if they use energy during off-peak hours when demand is lower. In particular, those off-peak hours range from about 10 o'clock in the evening until 7 o'clock in the morning. The reason they're not getting a break is because old-fashioned energy meters only record how much energy is being used and not when it is being used. Smart meters, together with more flexible pricing, would allow Ontarians to save money if they run appliances in off-peak hours. That's why we are directing the Ontario Energy Board to develop a plan to install smart electricity meters in 800,000 Ontario homes by 2007 and in each and every Ontario home by 2010. 
Lot's of spending ensues.

Today most electricity consumers have a smart meter, and most are now on "time-of-use" pricing.
Prior to the last election, off-peak hours were moved back to 7 pm, so as to exclude the highest demand hours of the day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sun-burned: Winter Electricity Rate Hike likely a record

Today the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced regulated price plan rates for November 1 2014 - April 30, 2014: my initial review shows the rate hike is over 12%  from the same period a year earlier, which is a record hike for winter rates since the OEB started setting rates, and probably also exceeds historical price spikes in the early 1990's, and the 1970's.

The OEB posts a number of documents in announcing the rates; Navigant Consulting has been providing a canned report for years, so I was just briefly leafing through it and found a new table displayed this time around - I've marked it up as Ontarians, and many others, have exhibited a lot of difficulty spotting the obvious.

Solar is expected to be 11% of the total - and that's in the least productive months for solar output!

I have noted solar is likely now exceeded the cost of hydro (I regularly update supply cost estimates here), and Navigant is now showing it too.

On another poorly played note ....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Backgrounder for Auditor General's report on Oakville Gas plant

Today the new Auditor General of Ontario will deliver, to the legislature, a report on the cost of cancelling/moving the Oakville Generating Station (I'll refer to it as the OGS, although now it is to be located hundreds of kilometers from Oakville).
The report will tell us more about the capabilities of the new Auditor, and the mainstream media, than it will about the gas plant.

It's been almost exactly a year since analyst Bruce Sharp provided the public with reasonable estimates of the full cost of the bumbling on the OGS (directly here, and second hand in the Star).  Former head of the Ontario Power Authority Jan Carr took a different route to arrive at essentially the same figure.
There have been higher estimates: Terence Corcoran found a way to put the ''one billion dollars' tag on the debacle, and documents released due to the legislature, and posted at Tom Adams' site, indicate the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) was authorized to go as high as $1.2 billion to make the problem go away.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wholesale rates up double digits again in September; Regulated prices likely to increase sharply for November

Enough data exists to estimate the Commodity Charge for electricity in Ontario's wholesale market will be up about 16% in September 2013 (from September 2012), which will bring the year-to-date increase to the same 16%.
2013's September will have a weighted average Hourly Ontario Energy Price of about ~$22.24/MWh (down 15% from 2012's), and the 2nd estimate for the global adjustment (GA) is $63.08 (up 32% from 2012's $47.62); combined the rate is $85.32, which is ~40 cents above the YTD average, both of which are 16% increases over 2012.

A month ago I was noting the quality of global adjustment estimates, including a first estimate for September of over $87/MWh (sensationally misreported in The Toronto Star days later).  The second estimate is 28% lower than the first - and the HOEP plus the 2nd estimate GA combined is also lower than the 1st estimate of the GA.

Emphasizing how scary the global adjustment charges look, the far better than initially feared total dollar estimate for the month is $666 million (actually $666.7, presumably rounded from $666,666,666.66)