Ontario paid to give power away to Quebec, U.S.
Published Monday, January 24, 2011 7:07PM EST
Ontario Hydro customers paid the U.S and Quebec $1.5 million to take electricity out of the Ontario system on January 1, thanks to a strange twist of market factors.
It was a warm winter's day so demand for electricity in Ontario was very low, leading to an excess of power because wind and nuclear energy generation cannot be turned off.
"When you've got that surplus, it actually becomes a hazard to the system. You have to dispose of that energy so we were going around to our neighbours, begging them to take our disposal problem," energy expert Tom Adams told CTV Toronto.
"We've got this excess and that proves to be expensive."
Wind farm operators are paid for windy days whether their energy is used or not, which is why Ontario Hydro customers still pick up the bill.
Occurrences such as the one on New Year's Day are likely to cost customers millions over the next few years.
A new report is predicting Ontario will commonly have a surplus of energy in the future.
"Ontario is doing our neighbours a huge favour at the expense of consumers here," Adams said.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss