MEDIA ADVISORY: Ontarians Demand Cleaner Cheaper Energy

MEDIA ADVISORY: Ontarians Demand Cleaner Cheaper Energy

MEDIA ADVISORY: Ontarians Demand Cleaner Cheaper Energy

Members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam and MPP Sandy Shaw addressed Bill 165,  the misnamed “The Keeping Cost Down Act,” the climate emergency and cleaner, cheaper and smarter alternatives to methane gas for home heating.

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 4, 2024
Contact information: Cathy Orlando, 1 705 929 4043
Media Advisory_ Ontarians Demand Cleaner Cheaper Energy (pdf)

Bill 165: Will cost us more. Is bad for the planet. Is a threat to democratic principles. Ontarians are being misled.

Updated to March 7, 2024. Watch the media scrum to learn more.

Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Location: Queen’s Park Media Studio
Who: Kristyn Wong-Tam, MPP for Toronto Centre (host), with MPP Sandy Shaw (Official Environment Critic Ontario) and members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada: Dr. Doug Pritchard (Toronto), Guy Hanchet (Peterborough) and Cathy Orlando (Sudbury) 

Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Canada is a volunteer-driven and non-partisan organization. Since 2010, we have been focused on building political will for evidence-based climate policies that will make our lives more affordable.

Guy Hanchet, BSc Mathematics, McGill, 1972, Chair of For Our Grandchildren since 2015, Climate Reality leader trained by Al Gore in San Francisco in 2012, member of Citizens Climate Lobby since 2012.

Doug Pritchard, PhD in Chemical Engineering (retired), CCL Toronto East Coordinator

Cathy Orlando, MSc BEd Climate Reality Leader (2008). Co-founder of CCL Canada (2010). Director of Programs at Citizens’ Climate International (2017). UNFCCC observer since 2017 and UN Convention on Biodiversity COP 15 observer (2022). Women’s 7 Advisor to the G7 (Germany 2022 and Japan 2023).  World Bank Civil Society and IMF Civil Society Observer since 2011.

Transforming Ontario’s Energy Event: On Monday, February 26, 58 advocates from across Ontario attended the “Transforming Ontario’s Energy Sector”. It was organized by 10 influential organizations, including Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment–ON, and For Our Grandchildren. At the breakfast they spoke with 14 MPPs and 4 staffers from all four political parties. On the tables at this event was an art installation of 20 miniature snowmen (and women) holding placards, with phrases such as “Protect our winters.”

Background Information
On December 21, 2023 the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) (1) made a crucial decision, stipulating that developers must bear the upfront costs for new infrastructure facilitating methane gas in homes in lieu of spreading the expenses over 40 years with existing customers footing the bill through elevated rates. The OEB concluded that climate change policy is driving an energy transition away from methane gas to electricity that gives rise to a stranded asset risk, and the usual way of doing business is not sustainable.

The day after the OEB’s decision, the Ontario Minister of Energy said that his government would introduce legislation (2) to reverse this decision claiming that the OEB ruling would make housing more expensive and slower to build. On February 22, 2024, the provincial government introduced Bill 165 (3) (Keeping Energy Costs Down Act, 2024) which, if passed, would give the government the authority to reverse the OEB’s decision (4). As well, Enbridge Gas has appealed the OEB’s decision (5).

The OEB ruling would make building new homes more affordable because they could be built to use only one type of energy infrastructure, electricity, and not require a second. New homes could be built more quickly by forgoing gas lines and installing heat pumps and induction stoves instead.

Recent research on electrification suggests that homes using cold climate electric heat pumps (6) would cost less to heat than those burning methane (7). In addition, electric induction stoves can boil water faster than gas (8) without introducing poisonous methane gas into homes.

Reversing the OEB ruling could result in building methane gas infrastructure that will take about 40 years to pay for; infrastructure that will still be delivering fossil fuels in 2064, 14 years beyond the time when the world has agreed to have achieved true net zero fossil fuel consumption; infrastructure that will be made obsolete by the ongoing energy transition (9).

Who benefits from upholding the OEB decision? Current gas customers, new homeowners, the health of Ontarians, our financial system and the environmental stand to gain. Whereas, a reversal would primarily favor the gas company. Consequently, we urge the Honourable Minister Todd Smith to consider an alternative solution that is more cost-effective for homeowners, promotes the well-being of families, and avoids exacerbating the accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels—an integral factor (constituting 85% of GHGs) in climate change.

Success Story About Heat Pumps: In Norway and Finland, two of the coldest European countries, the majority of households now heat their home with a heat pump. (10)

It is hot and dry: Environment Canada recently released its temperature anomaly forecast covering March, April and May, 2024. It shows a warmer than normal Spring for most of the country, with Ontario being no exception. The potential for more record-breaking high temperatures cannot be ruled out (11). On March 1, 2024  Conservation Sudbury reported the Greater Sudbury region is experiencing a record low snowpack, with only 17.3cm of snow in the Chelmsford area and 21.7cm in the Capreol area. While March 1st is historically the highest snowpack of the season, this year they found a decrease in snow depth since their last sampling event on February 15th (12). 


Disinformation: Fossil fuel fuel interests and car companies began studying global warming 70 years ago (13) yet here we are, facing a climate emergency in a world filled with climate disinformation funded by fossil fuel companies (14) and global despots (15). 

Against this backdrop the province of Ontario is planning to build new energy infrastructure that includes fossil fuels in face of all the repeated communications from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), International Energy Agency and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to build no new fossil fuel infrastructure. The conclusions of the IPCC 7th Assessment Report was that there is sufficient global capital to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas pollution if existing barriers are reduced. Governments, through public funding and clear signals to investors, are key in reducing these barriers (16).

The fact that Ontario plans to expand fossil gas infrastructure with our tax dollars leaves us in disbelief.




Actions you can take

  1. Leave a comment on the Proposed Amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act before April 7th.
  2.  Stay tuned. We plan to go back to Queen’s Park in May and again in October. This is all wrong.
  3.  Paper Petitions for Queen’s Park – Keep getting them filled in

  4.  Sign and share these online petitions

Our Lobbying Asks on February 26, 2024

Our ask

  1. In light of recent reports by the RBC Climate Action Institute, Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors, and the Sustainability Solutions Group, pause the expansion of methane-fired electricity generation, and commence winding down its use to stand-by ‘peaker’ plants only.

  2. Expand and accelerate the procurement of electricity from renewable sources, while
    – lifting the moratorium on off-shore wind power,
    – negotiating increased power transfers from Quebec and
    – pursuing more conservation, demand management, and distributed energy networks.

  3. Support the Ontario Energy Board’s recent decision recognizing the current energy transition, and its implications for methane gas connections to new homes.

Notre demande

  1. À la lumière des récents rapports de l’Institut d’action climatique RBC, de Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors et du Sustainability Solutions Group, interrompre l’expansion de la production d’électricité à partir de méthane et commencer à réduire progressivement son utilisation afin de n’avoir que des centrales de secours pour des périodes de pointe.

  2. Développer et accélérer l’achat d’électricité provenant de sources renouvelables,
    – en levant le moratoire sur l’énergie éolienne en mer,
    – en négociant une augmentation des transferts d’électricité du Québec et
    – en poursuivant davantage les efforts d’économies d’énergie, de gestion de la demande et de réseaux d’énergie décentralisée.

  3. Soutenir la récente décision de la Commission de l’énergie de l’Ontario reconnaissant la transition énergétique actuelle et ses implications pour les raccordements de gaz méthane aux nouveaux domiciles.

Video: Transforming Ontario's Energy Sector