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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Matt Gurney: Ontario Liberals blow another billion, but hey. Life’s complicated, right?

A report released this week by the Ontario Auditor-General, Bonnie Lysyk, has found that the province’s hydro sector is an even bigger disaster than widely believed. The latest debacle: Ms. Lysyk found  — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — that a billion public dollars have been spent while failing to accomplish the goal.

It’s not ehealth records, or even cancelled power plants. This time, it’s smart meters — technology that had to be installed on all Ontario homes to monitor their electricity usage. By introducing lower rates for hydro at times of the day when demand was lower, the province hoped to ease the burden on Ontario’s outdated power grid, while also promising consumers that with a few minor lifestyle tweaks, they could save some money on their (steadily climbing) power bills.

The problem, of course, is that it didn’t work. Smart meters were supposed to cost $1-billion. Ms. Lysyk found the actual cost is closer to $2-billion. They were supposed to reduce consumption. That hasn’t happened, either. And, well … are you really surprised that ratepayers aren’t saving any coin?

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