Toronto Star sputters about tenants’ inability to pay the high electricity rates that… the Toronto Star supported

Residents of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) high-rises are, as I predicted four years ago, now having to choose between paying their electricity bill and their rent. The Toronto Star reports today on the real-life impact that “green” energy policies are having on the very people who (1) live cleanest and (2) now simply cannot afford to live even in the lowest tier in the new social class system created by the same policies.

TCHC policy toward tenant costs reflects the environmental ideology that produced the Green Energy Act. Separate electricity bills from rent, the ideology goes, and tenants will see the effects of their energy use, and adjust their “behaviour” accordingly.

It makes my blood boil to watch the very predictable effects of forcing massive amounts of unreliable and inefficient wind power into our electricity system—this has put up costs so high that we are now reading horror stories like the Star just published.

This means, presumably, that the 89-year-old woman living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a TCHC high rise near Dundas W and University will learn—the hard way, if necessary—that it’s wrong to:

  • Have too many lights on during the coldest and darkest part of the winter.
  • Leave the TV running in the other room to keep her company.
  • Use so much water for cooking, cleaning and bathing because every gram of water she uses is brought into her apartment by electric pumps.

Appliances like a clothes iron, computer, radio, electric stove/oven, hair dryer, or air conditioner… well, she clearly uses them too much, and needs to be shown how wrong that excessive use is.

Meanwhile, people who are much better off financially and live in single detached homes, have done the prudent thing and switched home heating to natural gas, which dumps five times as much of the CO2 that the Green Energy Act was designed to reduce into the air that the 89-year-old TCHC tenant breathes. Because they heat their homes with a carbon-heavy fossil fuel instead of clean Ontario electricity, their switch is applauded by the green movement as a victory for energy conservation. It is not energy conservation. It is fuel-switching, to a dirtier but cheaper fuel—an option available only to those who can afford their own homes and heating systems.

Natural gas is cheaper than electricity, on a kilowatt-hour for kilowatt-hour basis, by design. The framers of the GEA want electricity to be expensive. That way, the people who live cleanest—like the 89-year-old TCHC tenant, who probably does not own a car and takes electric TTC subways and streetcars when she travels through the city—are the ones who bear the brunt of the effects of the GEA.

The Star piece is very good, and worth your while to read. It makes my blood boil to watch the very predictable effects of forcing massive amounts of unreliable and inefficient wind power into our electricity system—this has put up costs so high that we are now reading horror stories like the Star just published.

But what really makes my blood boil is that the Star—as reflected in its editorials and columns—supported the GEA. It supports expensive electricity. It gives lots and lots of column inches to reporting the blather of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a gas-industry funded lobby group, without mentioning that the OCAA is… a gas-industry funded lobby group that applauds expensive electricity so as to make its clients’ product cheaper and thereby more attractive by comparison.

Ontario does not need expensive, unreliable wind or solar electricity. We have all the clean electricity we need, and we have had it for decades: our nuclear and hydro plants make most of our power. This power is far cheaper than wind/solar, and is actually reliable.

We did not need to build all the gas-fired generators the OCAA lobbied for. They have helped to jack our electricity prices into the stratosphere, and have made space-heating fuel switching from electricity to natural gas a more economical decision. This is absolutely opposite to the outcome the Ontario government said last week that it is aiming for in its decision to join a cap and trade system. Cap and trade is supposed to make fossil fired energy economically unattractive. Ontario, through other means, and following the advice of a fossil-fuel lobby group, has made fossil energy more attractive.

And the Toronto Star applauded those means and colluded in bringing them about, by providing editorial and column support in helping that astroturf lobby group present itself as an altruistic grassroots organization.

And now sputters against the predictable effect of the gas lobby’s recommendations on the hides of vulnerable Ontarians.

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5 years ago

Did you write a letter to the editor noting these facts?

Were any letters on this topic published?