Rates for nuclear power lower than average energy price, says Bruce Power exec

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News

By Barb McKay

With 60 per cent of the province’s power source, nuclear, produced at less than six cents per kilowatt hour, it’s clear that another power source is driving Ontario’s high electricity costs, according to Bruce Power’s vice-president of corporate affairs.

James Scongack made a presentation to Kincardine council last Wednesday to provide an annual update on what Bruce Power accomplished in 2013 and what plans are on the horizon. Questions from council, however, centred on rising electricity prices and their destabilization.

Scongack said there isn’t a great deal of volatility in terms of energy prices, because most sources, including renewables, have fixed prices because there are contracts in place. The average electricity price in 2013 was 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour, but the price for nuclear was 5.9 cents and the price for hydro-electric was roughly four cents.

“So that gives you an idea of what’s driving the 8.5 cents,” he said, adding that he’s not trying to give renewable energy sources a bad rap.

Councillor Ken Craig said there are some who question the province’s plan to refurbish nuclear reactors, arguing that it would be less costly to purchase hydro-electric power from Quebec.

Scongack said there are misconceptions about the availability of power in Quebec.

“There is a myth out there that Quebec has a surplus of power and they want to sell it to us cheaply,” he said, adding that when Ontario experiences peak usages during cold winter days, Quebec does as well, so there isn’t a huge surplus to sell off.

There is a role in the energy industry for the import and export of power, Scongack said, but it could not replace the province’s major power source.

Nuclear power makes up 60 per cent of the electricity generated in the province and 30 per cent of that is supplied by Bruce Power. In 2013, Bruce Power generated twice as much power than it did a decade ago, due to the completion of the Bruce A restart project.

This year, Bruce Power plans a regional poll of residents in Bruce, Grey and Huron counties.

“It give us an opportunity to talk about energy issues and find out what people think of Bruce Power; what we are doing right and what we can improve on,” Scongack said.