February 7, 2005

Electricity sector proposes policy to follow up on new restructuring act

A broad coalition representing Ontario electricity producers, customers and service industries last week released a document outlining its vision for the province's electricity sector following the passage of the Electricity Restructuring Act in December. In its paper, titled "A Sustainable Electricity Policy," the Stakeholders' Alliance for Electricity Competition and Customer Choice (SAC) sets out principles designed to ensure that Ontario will have a competitive electricity sector that meets the economic and social needs of the province.

SAC Chair David McFadden noted that SAC supported the recommendations made by the Electricity Conservation and Supply Task Force in its January 2004 report and commends the Ontario government for having acted on many of those recommendations. He observed, however, that "enactment of this legislation will not of itself meet the serious challenges and issues facing the province's electricity industry. Intense ongoing effort and co-operation will be required involving generators, consumers, distributors, regulatory agencies and the government."

The Stakeholders Alliance believes that the long-term needs of Ontario's economy and its consumers require:

A robustly competitive electricity market featuring, among other things, multiple buyers and sellers, competitive prices and financial accountability;

Diversity in fuel, technology, location, ownership and size, to ensure an adequate supply of reliable, economically and environmentally sustainable electricity; in the SAC's view, no energy technology should be excluded if it can meet the environmental requirements of the province at a competitive cost;

Implementation of smart regulation, characterized by cost-effectiveness, a streamlined approval process (particularly with respect to new investment) and flexibility; and

Informed and empowered consumers, equipped with the information and tools available to them to assist Ontario in conserving electricity.

Among the members of the Stakeholders Alliance are the Association of Power Producers of Ontario (APPrO); the Canadian Chemical Producers Association (CCPA); Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB); Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME); the Ontario Energy Association; and the Ontario Mining Association. More information is available from SAC chair David McFadden, 416/369-7243, FAX 416/369-7250, E-mail david.mcfadden@gowlings.com.

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