TORONTO, March 26, 2001 An international panel of experts announced today that it is united and unequivocal in its support of the direction the Ontario government is headed as it prepares to open the province’s electricity system to competition. The panel, convened by Toronto Hydro Corporation, signaled its support today at an industry luncheon at Toronto’s Board of Trade.
Panelists at the first-ever ‘Power Lunch’ included: Alan Stockdale, Executive Chairman, Macquarie Bank Ltd. (Australia); Jim Dinning, Executive Vice President, Sustainable Development and External Relations, TransAlta; Bill Orr, Senior Vice President, Mirant Americas and Chief Executive Officer, Mirant America’s Northeast Region; and Jan Carr, Managing Director, Acres Management Consulting and Chair, Electricity Task Force, Toronto Board of Trade. Representing Australia, Alberta, the U.S. northeast and Ontario, the panelists were unanimous in their support for Ontario’s new market, based on their experiences with electricity deregulation in their respective jurisdictions.
In his opening remarks, John Brooks, President and Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Hydro Corporation said: “We believe in the competitive market. We believe the model that was developed specifically for the Ontario market can work and that it will work, for the benefit of consumers.”
Media reports to the contrary, Ontario consumers and industry are not in for the same surprises as those in California and Alberta, according to the panelists. “Ontario’s market design incorporates consumer interests, and therefore opening the market in Ontario – and soon is the right decision,” said Orr.
Pointing to some of the benefits of a competitive electricity market, Stockdale cited the decrease in rates experienced by consumers in Victoria (Australia). “The average electricity charge per unit fell by 20% in real terms from 1989 to 1999, as a result of the privatization of Victoria’s electricity industry,” he said.
Carr described the economic and environmental benefits that small- scale generation projects will hold in the new ‘age of choice’, including wind power, hydroelectric and various distributed generation technologies. “None of these initiatives can proceed without a competitive and open market.”
As an indication of its confidence in the new electricity market, Toronto Hydro Corporation also announced today that it will launch a grass-roots public education campaign in April, in an effort to help consumers understand the changes that electricity competition will bring.
Incorporated in 1999, Toronto Hydro Corporation operates four affiliate companies Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited, Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc., EBT Express and Toronto Hydro Telecom. Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited, the regulated wires affiliate, is the second largest municipal distribution utility in North America, with annual sales of $2 billion and distribution to 25% of Ontario’s industrial and residential customers. Toronto Hydro Energy Services Inc. is a leading wholesaler and retailer of electricity, natural gas and energy efficient products and services. EBT Express, launched in December 2000 with joint-venture partner Ontario Power Generation, is the first retail energy transaction hub in North America. Toronto Hydro Telecom was launched in September 2000 to service the fibre optics needs of its commercial customers. Toronto Hydro Corporation is owned by the City of Toronto.