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Darlington Re-Build Could Cost $21 to $35 Billion

OPG wants to raise rates in March 2011 to start paying for Darlington Re-Build
Darlington Re-Build Could Cost $21 to $35 Billion
September 29, 2010 - Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) proposal to re-build the Darlington Nuclear Station could cost $21 to $35 billion according to a new report, The Darlington Re-Build Consumer Protection Plan, released today by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA).
 
 
OPG is seeking permission from the Ontario Energy Board to raise its rates commencing March 2011 to start paying for the Darlington Re-Build project. According to OPG, its proposal to extend the operating life of Darlington by 30 years will cost $8.5 to $14 billion. “However, every single nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone over budget. On average, the actual costs of Ontario’s nuclear projects have been 2.5 times greater than the original cost estimates. Therefore, if history repeats itself, the actual cost of the Darlington Re-Build project will be $21 to $35 billion,” said Jack Gibbons, Chair of the OCAA.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s renewable and natural gas-fired power producers (individuals, co-ops, First Nations communities, municipal utilities and investor-owned corporations) are not allowed to pass their capital cost overruns on to Ontario’s electricity consumers and taxpayers. “Ontario Power Generation should be subject to the same consumer protection rules,” said Mr. Gibbons. “Specifically, we are asking Premier McGuinty to tell Ontario Power Generation that it will not be allowed to pass the Darlington Re-Build project’s cost overruns on to the province’s electricity consumers or taxpayers,” Mr. Gibbons noted. That is, to proceed with the Darlington Re-Build and protect Ontario’s consumers and taxpayers, Ontario Power Generation must find a third party (e.g., Areva, Bruce Power, General Electric) that will agree to re-build Darlington pursuant to an all-in fixed price contract.
“It’s time to put Ontario’s electricity consumers and taxpayers first. It is time to stop giving Ontario Power Generation blank cheques,” Mr. Gibbons stated.
“The good news is that Ontario has much lower cost and lower risk options to keep the lights on. They are energy efficiency; combined heat and power and water power imports from Quebec. These options can meet our electricity needs at less than half the cost of re-building Darlington,” said Mr. Gibbons.