Power politics


By Bruce Rhodes


November 13, 2002 – Page A30


I share Murray Campbell’s view that the incentive that higher rates give consumers to conserve electricity is over (Ernie Stops By The Kitchen For Some Humble Pie – Nov. 12). While I have misgivings about freezing hydro rates, if we are to freeze them, we ought to set them high enough to encourage serious conservation.


Curbing demand would have done much to reduce pressure on hydro infrastructure in the near term. Any extra revenue could have subsidized development of local business- and home-based sources, such as solar power. Longer term, we could have shifted electricity generation from the large facilities to local systems and made consumers less vulnerable to corporate pricing decisions.


But as things stand, Ontario, with its artificially cheap electricity, is about to turn itself into a fool’s paradise in which the absence of incentives to conserve will only boost demand further and leave us undoubtedly worse off than we are today.