This letter to the editor from Duncan Hawthorne was sent to the Toronto Star in response to a recent opinion piece from Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to an opinion piece by Jack Gibbons related to Ontario’s electricity market, which contained numerous factual inaccuracies.
In 2011, nuclear power provided nearly 57 per cent of Ontario’s electricity – that’s one out of two homes, schools, businesses, farms and hospitals in the province. Nuclear provides a source of low-cost, clean, safe and reliable power that is the backbone of our electricity system.
At Bruce Power, we provide a quarter of Ontario’s electricity and recognize, as Ontario moves off coal, we will need to work together to balance the ever-changing supply and demand in the province. I know Mr. Gibbons is a supporter of moving off coal and I would like to remind him that Bruce Power’s return to service of two units in 2004 and the impending return of two more units this year will add 3,000 megawatts of low-cost electricity to the grid, making us one of the largest contributors to phasing-out coal in the province.
Because the supply and demand changes frequently in Ontario, due to all sorts of factors including weather, usage, industrial demand and import/export availability, Bruce Power continues to work with the Independent Electricity System Operator to meet changing market demands. In fact, since 2009, our four Bruce B units have been a source of dynamic and flexible generation for the market, allowing us to adjust our output to meet demands – that’s a fact.
It’s also important to set the record straight on price because that is what many Ontario households are most concerned about in today’s economy. The price of electricity on consumers’ bills is made up of two factors – the market price and something referred to as Global Adjustment. For example, on a typical day, the combined price of these factors is much higher than the price nuclear generators are paid in the province. Mr. Gibbons indicates nuclear makes up 45 per cent of Ontario’s Global Adjustment, however, nuclear provides 57 per cent of the output. It is because nuclear generation is low-cost that we make up a smaller portion of this cost than we actually produce. This is an important fact and supports our position that Bruce Power and nuclear is a supplier of low-cost electricity for the province.
I encourage people to get the facts on this important issue and feel free to visit www.brucepower.com. I recognize there are many opinions on the electricity sector, however, to have a true debate we must stick with the facts – everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.
President and CEO