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London Free Press Business Section:


Electricity report won't spark big changes

CP   2004-01-14 03:49:01  

TORONTO -- The Ontario government will release a report today on the future of the province's electricity market that will give broad recommendations on conservation and how to increase supply. However, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan isn't expected to announce any major policy changes when he releases the report of the Electricity Conservation and Supply Task Force, a government source said yesterday.

"The report makes broad recommendations about the entire electricity sector, including recommendations around conservation, demand management programs, and different options to build supply in the province," the source said.

The report also looks at the province's transmission grid and how it can be improved.

In the wake of brownouts during a sweltering summer, the task force was appointed last June by the former Conservative government to look at the province's long-term electricity needs.

Ontario's electricity market has been buoyed by the recent restart of two reactors at the Bruce nuclear plant and one at the Pickering power plant, and the startup of a gas-fired co-generation plant in Sarnia owned by TransAlta.

Duncan will not make any major policy changes until he's received the report examining Ontario Power Generation's role in the electricity market.

That report, being led by former federal finance minister John Manley, is expected in mid-March.

The Liberal government needs to know the state of Ontario's electricity supply since it has promised to shut down the province's coal-fired plants by 2007.

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