Making Sense of Energy

Energy Market Update: September 2018


Renewable will be in mix when Edmonton negotiates new energy contract

The City of Edmonton wants all of its operations to be powered by renewable energy sources by 2030, and is looking at upcoming electricity contract negotiations as a chance to achieve that. The city spends about $35 million each year on the 300,000 megawatt hours of power, used for everything from keeping the lights on at city buildings to running the LRT. That’s a huge energy demand that could spur new renewable energy development, such as a mid-size wind farm, a crowd at city hall was told  on Monday. Edmonton is currently renegotiating its energy contract for another five years. But it’s unclear how much “green energy” the city will be able to incorporate into the next phase of its contract. Source: CBC News

Electricity Prices for Alberta

The Alberta power pool price averaged 3.611 cents per kWh in September 2018. This price is 3.269 cents lower than last month’s average of 6.880 cents per kWh. The pool price has averaged 4.192 cents per kWh over the last 12 months.

As of September 4, 2018, the forward market was predicting electricity prices for the calendar years of 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. These prices are 5.325, 5.025, 4.600, and 4.500 cents per kWh respectively.

Gas Prices for Alberta

Direct Energy’s gas rate for September 2018 was $1.321 per GJ in Alberta. The October 2018 rate has been set at $1.322 per GJ. Alberta gas prices have averaged $1.574 per GJ over the last 12 months.

As of September 4, 2018, the forward market was predicting gas prices for the calendar years of 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. These prices are 1.68, 1.65, 1.70, 1.82, 1.88, and 2.12 cents per GJ respectively.


British Columbia 

What are bioplastics anyway? Confusion over term hinders fight against waste, expert says

A Vancouver-based plastics expert is pushing for more public education about the different types of plastics following Ottawa’s plans to eliminate the use of single-use plastics in government operations. Love-Ese Chile, a bioplastics specialist and consultant, argues not all plastics are the same and it’s crucial to understand their differences when creating public policy. “We need legislation for labelling, we need better infrastructure for collection of these plastics and infrastructure for breaking them down and recycling,” Chile said. Different types of plastics are defined by a number — for example, No. 1 is PETE, used for drinks bottles; No. 2 is HDPE, used for milk jugs and plastic bags — but bioplastics are lumped together in a catch-all category. “Every other plastic has a number associated with it, but all bioplastics fall onto this No. 7 ‘other’,” Chile said. In fact, Chile said, there are three major categories when it comes to sustainable plastics: those that are bio-based, those that are biodegradable and those that are both. Source: CBC News



Kitchener’s natural gas rates expected to go down Oct. 1

Kitchener residents will see a drop in their natural gas bill on Oct. 1 if council votes in favour of removing the Ontario cap and trade program charge. A staff report and recommendation is being presented to Kitchener’s city council on Monday night, proposing that residents have 3.87 cents removed for every cubic metre of natural gas charged on their monthly bill. The 3.87 cents per cubic metre charged was originally used for Ontario’s cap and trade program, a provincially legislated emission trading system launched by the former Liberal government in May 2016 to address climate change. Now that the current provincial government has ended the program, the Ontario Energy Board is directing all natural gas utilities to remove the cost for consumers by Oct. 1.  Source: CBC News


Electricity Prices for Ontario

The Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP) was an average of 2.693 cents per kWh in September 2018. This price is 0.199 cents lower than last month’s 2.892 cents per kWh. The twelve month moving average was 2.053 cents per kWh up to September 2018.

The Actual Rate for the Global Adjustment rate Class B for September 2018 was set at 8.584 cents per kWh. The Global Adjustment is an additional charge paid by non-regulated customers. (Source: IESO)



‘Let’s slow down’: Council puts off decision on ‘Pay As You Throw’ for a month

Saskatoon city councillors decided to hold off a vote on the future cost of garbage and compost collection for residents. The group was expected to decide the fate of the proposed “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) system, in which residents would pay a monthly fee roughly based on the size of their trash bin. But as the discussion wore on, councillors began to push back against the idea that they needed to make a decision Monday night. The final decision is now slated for some time in October. The city hopes the new system will fully cover the cost of garbage collection, help Saskatoon reach its goal of diverting 70 per cent of its waste from the landfill by 2023 and eliminate the need to replace the city dump at an estimated cost of $120 million. Source: CBC News



Ottawa slams Manitoba’s ‘flip flop’ on carbon tax after Pallister pulls out of climate plan

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said today the federal government is disappointed that Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has pulled his province out of the national climate plan, calling it a “flip flop” on the carbon tax. The comments came a day after Pallister announced he was abandoning his “made in Manitoba” plan to tax carbon dioxide emissions at a price of $25/tonne. Instead, Pallister said he will focus his energies — and his province’s financial resources — on further developing clean hydroelectric power, phasing out coal and recycling “more and better.” Source: CBC News


New Brunswick

NB Power rate freeze could cost utility $135M in stranded carbon costs

Federal carbon taxes are scheduled to take effect on major greenhouse gas emitters like NB Power on Jan. 1. The potential cost of a four-year power rate freeze to NB Power keeps climbing. The Liberals will not allow NB Power to pass along the cost of any carbon taxes imposed by the federal government to customers covered by a freeze, on top of not allowing the utility to apply for its normal two per cent rate hikes. That could leave the utility stuck with $135 million in stranded carbon costs over four years and raise the total revenue shortfall to NB Power because of the promised freeze to as high as $300 million. Source: CBC News


Prince Edward Island 

How to save on your electricity bill this fall

With fall here, and temperatures starting to dip, many Islanders will start to notice electricity bills going up. CBC’s Mainstreet P.E.I. frugal columnist Liz MacKay says there are lots of small things people can do to save money each month. She shared some of her suggestions for lowering your electricity bill. MacKay was inspired to talk about electricity bills after seeing her savings from her new heat pump. A big way to save is to let nature dry your laundry, MacKay said. MacKay suggests several ways to make sure your refrigerator is working efficiently.  Read more: CBC News



Climate change is an economic opportunity, Quebec pension fund manager says

Michael Sabia, one of Canada’s largest pension fund managers, spoke at a roundtable discussion on sustainable finance on the eve of a three-day meeting of G7 environment, oceans and energy ministers in Halifax. He says trillions of dollars should be shifted into investments that will counter global warming, in part because it’s crucial to long-term profits. He also urged capitalists to stop seeing climate change solely as a risk, and to “get on with” seeking profits from the need for more renewable energy, low-energy real estate and low-carbon transport systems. Source: CBC News


Newfoundland and Labrador 

Muskrat and the p-factor: Nalcor took a risky approach that lowered cost estimates

A document presented at the Muskrat Falls inquiry this week showed that early planning for the project took a more conservative approach to risk management. However, that changed by the time the massive hydroelectric project was sanctioned in 2012. But by the time Muskrat was sanctioned by former premier Kathy Dunderdale and her government in 2012, the p-factor was reduced from 75 to 50. “The difference between a p-50 as opposed to a p-75 was to reduce the cost projections by hundreds of millions of dollars,” lawyer Geoff Budden, who represents a group of Muskrat Falls critics, told the inquiry Tuesday. Lawyer says aggressive strategy erased ‘hundreds of millions’ from project estimates. Source: CBC News


Nova Scotia 

Small group hopes to convince entire community to ditch plastic

Pink and Green PipeA small group of residents in Lunenburg, N.S., has undertaken a big task — rid the seaside town of single-use plastics. Plastic Free Lunenburg, a collection of about eight passionate residents that formed this summer, is trying to convince business owners and customers alike that it’s time to move beyond recycling. It’s time to refuse plastics altogether. Plastic Free Lunenburg is arming restaurant owners with information about green alternatives, launching an education campaign to change consumers’ habits and discussing ways for the entire town to share resources. Some small businesses worry about the risks and costs, but there are also many that have already made changes. Katherine Eisenhauer, who owns The Savvy Sailor on Montague Street, has offered compostable takeout containers since she opened, and this year switched to wooden cutlery, too. Katherine Marsters, who owns The Point General just outside Lunenburg in Blue Rocks, stopped stocking to-go cups altogether this summer. Source: CBC News



The governments of Canada and Nunavut announce investments in energy efficiency upgrades that help residents save energy and money

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced a federal investment of almost $12 million that will go toward energy efficiency retrofits for Nunavut’s public housing and the installation of new district heating systems in the communities of Sanikiluaq and Taloyoak. Under the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, Nunavut is eligible to receive $31 million for programs that reduce carbon pollution and strengthen the economy. The communities of Sanikiluaq and Taloyoak will benefit from new district heating systems that will help reduce the territory’s diesel-fuel consumption and cut carbon emissions. The new systems are designed to capture residual heat from power generation and provide space and hot-water heating to nearby commercial and institutional buildings. These systems will allow customers to save on energy costs and further extend the life of their heating equipment. Source: Quilliq Energy Corporation


Northwest Territories

New Look to Electricity Bills and Expanded Billing/Payment Options for NTPC Customers

NTPC customers will notice a new look to their electricity bills in October. The redesigned bill layout provides more information about electricity consumption to customers and is easier to read. NTPC is also introducing new billing and payment options for its residential customers in October. Customers can now sign up for paperless E-billing. Customers also have the option of registering for a Pre-Authorized Payment Plan. The third new option for residential customers is Budget Billing. With the Budget Billing Plan, customers will have their annual power costs averaged into 11 equal monthly bills with a settle up bill produced in June. This provides consistency and predictability to help customers plan their monthly budget. Source: NWT Power Corporation



On October 1, 2018, new surcharges for tires, electronic and electrical products sold in Yukon will apply. Expanding recycling programs in Yukon will help modernize the Yukon’s waste management system, by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills in a financially sustainable manner. In Yukon, the government continues to subsidize recycling. By applying these surcharges, we help offset the costs of collecting and recycling these items, and ensure the majority of the costs is borne by the consumers of these products, rather than taxpayers. The categories align with those in British Columbia and Alberta. The surcharges are slightly higher than other jurisdictions. This is due to the distance of Yukon from recycling processors, and also due to the need to be adequate to cover the backlog. Source: Government of Yukon