March 15, 2004

CME, AMPCO review report

A review of the Alliance's report prompted the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) and the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario (AMPCO) to express grave concerns about its proposals. CME and AMPCO called the strategy a shortsighted and expensive plan to try and fill a major electricity shortage in Ontario, which will occur if the government moves to eliminate coal-fired generation by 2007.

"This report is lacking and will undoubtedly influence policy makers to make the wrong decisions for Ontario," said Ian Howcroft, vice-president of CME's Ontario Division, adding that "it fails to consider a full and well-founded risk, cost and benefit analysis of all the options available."

While CME and AMPCO recognize and support the need for sustainable long-term energy solutions, both groups believe that the options outlined in the Clean Air Alliance report are only part of the overall supply solution.

There will be a significant shortfall in supply over the next15 to 18 years unless existing aging generation facilities - which deliver base load energy - are refurbished or replaced. Eliminating coal-fired plants will only widen an already significant gap.

Ontario must be realistic when considering options to replace this electricity supply with cost-effective, proven technologies and fuels in order to ensure a secure, cost-competitive energy supply. Otherwise, the potential risk of inadequate and high-priced energy is enormous. This, in turn, will jeopardize the competitive position of businesses in Ontario. CME and AMPCO maintain that province's energy policy should be designed to support the economy and resulting high quality of life in Ontario.

"We are simply not confident that all of the options have been fairly assessed," said AMPCO president Mary Ellen Richardson. "These decisions have long-term ramifications to Ontario citizens. The recommendations are not adequate to fill the supply gap, in particular within the time frame of the coal plant phaseout. Moreover, we may be exposing Ontario customers to untenable price increases."

More information is available from Ian Howcroft at CME, 905/568-8300, ext 256, E-mail ian.howcroft@cme-mec.ca, or Mary Ellen Richardson at AMPCO, 416/260-0225, E-mail mer@ampco.org.

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