Ontario counts on Bruce Power to provide 30% of its electricity.

The people of Ontario count on Bruce Power to do so at 30% less than the average cost to generate residential power. Below is a chart of the prices paid for the different types of energy supplies in Ontario in 2016.

The cost of electricity for Ontario families and businesses is an important issue across the province as families work to balance their many household expenses, and businesses are working harder than ever to remain competitive and strong.

Bruce Power and the electricity we provide Ontario families and businesses is part of the solution now and over the long term, to provide a source of low-cost, stable electricity. We generate 30% of Ontario’s electricity at 30% less than the average cost to generate residential power – today and for years to come.

We don’t take our role for granted and do everything we can to find ways to better manage costs and find safer, more efficient ways of running our business to the benefit of ratepayers. Through our arrangement with the IESO, we rebate money back to the electricity system for operational efficiencies we achieve as per our agreement on a three-year basis – further reducing the price of power for families and businesses.

While we are very proud of our role as a low-cost electricity provider, we recognize there is more to the energy system than Bruce Power, and we are a part of the community in the Bruce/Grey region. That’s why our company, employees, unions and suppliers are stepping up, in partnership with the United Way of Bruce Grey, to support those having difficulty with their utility bills, by enhancing the utility assistance program through a $1.6 million commitment to the United Way.

Key facts

  • Bruce Power produces 30% of Ontario’s electricity at 30% less than the average cost to generate residential power. This is a role we play today and will for decades.
  • In fact, in 2016, Bruce Power was paid 6.6 cents per kilowatt-hour (kw/h) for its electricity, while the average residential price was about 11.5 cents per kw/h. Overall, while Bruce Power generated 30% of the electricity supply in Ontario, because of its low-cost it only accounted for 18% of the cost of the Global Adjustment (20% overall).
  • While there are many components that make up an electricity bill, including distribution and transmission charges, if you received 100% of your electricity from Bruce Power, this portion of your bill would be at least 30% less.
  • Bruce Power sells all of its electricity under a controlled contract with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator.
  • As outlined, in 2016, this cost was 6.6 cents per kw/h and this covers all investment the company has made in the site, as well as the funding of all long-term liabilities as required in the company’s lease with the province.
  • Bruce Power makes available flexible generation from one-third of its capacity to accommodate intermittent sources of generation in the market and to meet changing demand.
  • Bruce Power is responsible for meeting all investment requirements for the site, including an estimated $13 billion in life-extension investments, which began on Jan. 1, 2016.  This multi-year program is on time and on budget, and Bruce Power is accountable for managing the cost of these projects and the risk of cost overruns.
  • When the transaction with the province was announced in December 2015, the all-in price of Bruce Power’s output under its long-term agreement was confirmed to be $78 per megawatt-hour (Mwh).
  • In its arrangement with the IESO, Bruce Power is motivated to perform better than plan – both in its operation and with projects. If Bruce Power betters its plan it will rebate money back to the electricity system for operational efficiencies it makes, further reducing the price of power for families and businesses.
  • According to a report released by The Asthma Society of Canada, ratepayers will also benefit from avoided costs of carbon pricing by using clean nuclear. In fact, between 2017 and 2064 – the end-of-life of the Bruce Power units – clean nuclear, when compared to alternatives, will avoid between $12 billion and $63 billion in carbon costs that ratepayers would have to fund if this output was replaced by fossil fuels.

Putting the price of nuclear into perspective

Electricity generation, the actual power people use, amounts to about half the cost of residential bills. The remainder are delivery and other charges. The cost of electricity generation is a bundled amount on the electricity bill and therefore people do not know from their bills how much they pay for each source of power.

The table below identifies the total percent of supply provided from each of the electricity sources and the total percent of cost on the residential bill. As you can see, nuclear and hydro provide a much higher percentage or supply than cost meaning they are low-cost sources of electricity.

 

Nuclear generation includes output from Bruce Power, Darlington and Pickering. Specific to Bruce Power, in 2016, the company generated 30% of the electricity supply and only accounted for 18% of the cost of the Global Adjustment (20% overall). Bruce Power was paid 6.6 cents per kilowatt-hour for its electricity, while the average residential price was about 11 cents kw/h.

Life-Extension Program

Bruce Power’s role in the future of Ontario’s electricity supply was solidified on Dec. 3, 2015, when the company and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) entered into an amended, long-term agreement to secure 6,400 megawatts of electricity from the Bruce site, through a multi-year Life-Extension Program. The life extension began on Jan. 1, 2016, and will continue through 2053, allowing Bruce Power’s units to operate safely through to 2064.

The life extension also includes the Major Component Replacement Project, which will begin in Unit 6 in 2020 and extend the life of Units 3-8 over a period of 16 years.

In 2005, Bruce Power entered into the Bruce Power Refurbishment Implementation Agreement (BPRIA) to enable the restart of Bruce Units 1 and 2, to return the site to its full operating capacity of eight units. The amended agreement enables the company to progress with a series of incremental life-extension investments, including Major Component Replacement, to secure a clean, reliable and low-cost source of electricity for Ontario families and businesses for decades, as outlined in Ontario’s 2013 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP).

“This is a major milestone in the history of Bruce Power as we build on our existing agreement with the province and extensive experience to enter the next phase of our site development,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “This provides us the opportunity to secure our long-term role as a supplier of low-cost electricity by demonstrating we can successfully deliver this program incrementally.”

Over the past 14 years, Bruce Power has returned its eight-unit site to its full capacity, allowing Ontario to phase out coal-fired power generation, while providing low-cost, reliable and carbon-free electricity to families and businesses.

Bruce Power is Ontario’s lowest cost source of nuclear, currently producing over 30% of the province’s electricity at 30% less than the average cost to generate residential power. Extending the operational life of the Bruce Power units will ensure Ontario families and businesses have long-term price stability.

The amended agreement, which took economic effect on Jan. 1, 2016, allows Bruce Power to immediately invest in life-extension activities for Units 3-8, followed by a Major Component Replacement program, optimizing the operational life of the site and offering significant ratepayer and system benefits.

“In the short term, this amended agreement will allow us to establish the building blocks to be successful with our long-term program by investing to extend the operational life of the units, while also preparing for the first Major Component Replacement, which will commence in 2020,” Mike said. “This will set us up for success by allowing us to manage resources and facilitate a coordinated schedule to complete this program.”

Highlights of the arrangement include:

  • On Jan. 1, 2016, Bruce Power began receiving a single price for all output from the site of $65.73 per megawatt hour (MW/h), which is about 30% less than the average price the province paid in 2015 of $98.90 MW/h (see above chart).
  • Bruce Power, as a private sector operator, will continue to meet all investment requirements for the site. While there is a process to determine the cost of the work and off-ramps, it is estimated the six units in the agreement will cost $8 billion ($2014), in addition to $5 billion ($2014) in a range of other life-extension activities from 2016-53. In the short-term, between 2016 and 2020, the company will be investing approximately $2.3 billion ($2014) as part of this plan. This is incremental to the company’s ongoing financial investments to sustain eight units of operation.

 

Refurbishment graphic Investment

 

  • The life-extension of each unit will add approximately 30 to 35 years of operational life, while other investments will add a combined 30 reactor years of operational life to the units. This approach provides additional benefit in terms of sequencing life-extension activities and optimizing asset life.
  • Bruce Power will bear the risk of delivering these projects on time and budget with upside sharing for better than planned performance with the IESO. The price of these life-extension activities will be finalized prior to each project through a defined, transparent process in the agreement.
  • The agreement allows for Bruce Power to invest in the pre-planning of life-extension activities, leading to greater predictability, which will lead to the successful delivery of the program. All of the future plant investment activities outlined in this agreement have been previously completed by Bruce Power over the last 14 years, and the company will build on these lessons learned moving forward. The price of electricity will be adjusted as funds are incrementally spent as part of the investment program.

 

Refurbishment lessons learned

 

  • The program will secure an estimated 22,000 jobs directly and indirectly from operations, and an additional 3,000-5,000 jobs annually throughout the investment program, injecting billions into Ontario’s economy as outlined in the updated Economic Impact Study, released in 2016. Learn more about job projections through this long-term outlook for Major Component Replacement.
  • Consistent with the LTEP, a series of realistic off-ramps have been built into the agreement related to both life-extension performance and if the province’s market conditions change.
  • Bruce Power will continue to provide approximately one-third of its output (2,400 MW) as flexible generation, allowing the province to permanently balance system needs in a post-coal environment. This is a feature that only the Bruce Power units can provide, and has been used frequently by the IESO since 2009.
  • As has been the case since 2001, Bruce Power will continue to assume responsibility for operating the site. In Canada, nuclear facilities are regulated by the federal government through the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Bruce Power, as a licensee, will be responsible for meeting all regulatory requirements and gaining the necessary approvals to implement the investment program. The life-extension timetable is consistent with Bruce Power’s current site license that runs to 2020, which assumes there will be no Major Component Replacement work completed within this period. The CNSC licensing process is an open, transparent process that provides the opportunity for public, community and Aboriginal engagement, and, consistent with past practice, Bruce Power will has started the external engagement as part of this process.

The Bruce Power Refurbishment Implementation Agreement has been available to the public since it was first signed in 2005 and the company and the province continue to support this open and transparent approach. The agreement, along with other background materials, can be found below.

Previously, Bruce Power had two different partnership structures – Bruce A LP (Bruce A) and Bruce Power LP (Bruce B). As a result of this transaction, Bruce Power moved to a single partnership structure through Bruce Power L.P. TransCanada Corporation (TransCanada) exercised its option to acquire an additional interest in Bruce Power for $236 million from the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS). TransCanada and OMERS each hold a 48.5 per cent interest in Bruce Power, with the remainder held by the Power Workers’ Union, The Society of Energy Professionals and a Bruce Power Employee Trust.

Other resources

Refurbishment Implementation Agreement

Sharing in Transfers and Financing Agreement

NERA Fairness Opinion Letter

BPRIA Backgrounder