Need a Real ‘Global Adjustment’

The Ontario government was severely criticized by the Auditor General for what has been described in the press lately as a “deeply flawed attempt to promote green energy.”

I’m skeptical of the repeated narrative to blame higher electric prices on efforts to enlarge the renewable energy sector. The website of the Independent Electric System Operator (IESO) provides extensive information on current and historical electricity pricing. Aside from Time-of-Use (TOU) rates (winter: 8.3¢ to 17.5¢), the factor that roughly doubles a householder’s bill is the little understood “Global Adjustment” (GA).

According to the IESO, “the GA is calculated based on the difference between the Hourly Ontario Electricity Price (HOEP) and:

  • Regulated rates to Ontario Power Generation nuclear and base-load hydroelectric generating stations
  • Contracts with the Ontario Power Authority such as new gas-fired facilities, renewable facilities, and nuclear refurbishments
  • Contracted rates administered by the Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation paid to existing generators.

The Global Adjustment factor for October was 7.54¢/kwh. Add that to the TOU rates above and electricity ranges between 15.8¢ and 25¢ per kilowatt-hour depending on time and day.  Continue reading

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Turning the Tables with Smart Meters

My last article described the benefits of smart meters, which primarily provided savings to electric power generators and distributors. The objective of reducing costs to consumers through time-of-use conservation has not been realized. About half of the electric bill consists of a “global adjustment” for a constantly fluctuating market price of electricity. Yet the two-way metering by smart meters will allow consumers to eventually turn the tables.

As the centralized model of energy generation and distribution begins to disintegrate, consumers will have an opportunity to achieve real savings through the use of renewable technologies. Households will find it easier to install wind and/or solar arrays as costs drop. More people will generate some or all of their electricity requirements themselves. With net metering, surplus power can be fed back to the grid and the smart meter then reduces electric charges proportionately to as low as zero. Continue reading

Innovators On the Edge of History

In my last article I talked about some people being on the wrong side of history. There is also a flip side to this – a world-wide movement of individuals, organizations and corporations on the edge of history. They are people who are working toward a more sustainable model of development, with emphasis on being clean, natural, renewable, and/or recyclable, as well as profitable. Continue reading