Common Voice Northwest Salutes Power Move by Ontario Government

Minister of Energy
Minister of Energy getting a birds eye view of the work in Ontario

Policy Change Should Help Northern Development

THUNDER BAY – ENERGY – Common Voice Northwest is saluting the Ontario Government over a decision announced that will help make a difference for communities across Northwestern Ontario.

Larry Hebert is the Co-Chair of the Energy Task Force along with Iain Angus. The decision by the Ontario Government to put aside a simple business case model for making decisions on expansion of the energy power grid will help across the region.

The move should open the door to expanding access to the energy grid for the North. The cost of power up north, Hebert shares can be as much as $2 per kilowatt hour. That compares to a cost of about eleven cents per kilowatt hour in Thunder Bay.

Not being on the grid, which is the current situation for many communities in the far north means that they are forced to rely on diesel fuel being brought into the community by tanker truck during the winter on the ice roads, or flown into the communities. Hebert commented that in one case a community was in an emergency and 200 litre bladders of diesel fuel had to be flown in by helicopter costing about $10,000 per hour.

Electric power across the North is often produced by diesel generators in stations like this one in Bearskin Lake First Nation
Electric power across the North is often produced by diesel generators in stations like this one in Bearskin Lake First Nation

That difference makes a huge impact on the cost of doing business in the North. High energy costs are a major determent to development of mines, and of new opportunities in forestry.

The high cost of energy also impacts the price of food in the north. For a grocery store in a northern community, it costs almost twenty times more for the energy needed to refrigerate groceries, heat the building, and light the shop compared to a store in Thunder Bay, Dryden or Kenora.

Larry Hebert states that the efforts of Common Voice Northwest on this issue appear to have generated positive results, and should the proposed legislation pass that it will be good for all of Northern Ontario.

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