Money up the flue
This past Monday was a windy day in Ontario, with westerly howls reaching 100 km/hr from Windsor through Toronto and beyond. Fallen trees and branches brought down power lines and crushed vehicles, highways were closed, a stained glass church window was damaged in Hamilton and a roof ripped off at a Burlington airport. A tornado was confirmed near Mildmay.
While communities cleaned up after the path of destruction, the expense to citizens continues, according to former TD Bank President Robin Korthals, a graduate engineer with a Harvard MBA, who follows such matters closely. On Monday Ontario’s wind turbines generated record amounts of power that we did not need. Because of the foolish arrangements agreed to by the Ontario Liberal government, we had to buy the wind power despite the fact that it costs about five times what eventual users are charged.
To make matters worse, because there was excess capacity, we couldn’t use power from the Darlington nuclear plant so they just steamed off everything they produced that day. Since we still had power excess to our use, Ontario sold electricity to both Michigan and Quebec at rates that were lower than their costs of production, power that they could then resell at a greater profit than normal to their lucky citizens.
The cost to Ontario for this one-day fiasco? About $10 million. As Korthals says, “Why do we only elect lawyers and never engineers?” Or as my father, who was also an engineer, might have said, “Money up the flue.”