Ontario and Quebec have agreed to a deal the Kathleen Wynne Liberals hope will quell anger over rising hydro bills.
The two provinces will sign a seven year agreement Friday when the Wynne and Philippe Couillard governments hold a joint cabinet meeting in Toronto. The deal will see Ontario import up to two terawatt hours of electricity from Quebec each year.
The agreement is expected to save Ontario $70 million dollars over the seven year term. It will have only a small impact on Ontarians electricity bills but will cut one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Ontario will be able to do that by being able to reduce its reliance on natural gas-fired power plants while the Darlington nuclear power station undergoes a $12.8 billion refurbishment.
The deal will also allow Ontario to keep up to 500 gigawatt hours of power behind Quebec’s dams in a “pump storage” system, allowing Ontario to reduce its surplus generation.
The provincial Liberals have been under heavy criticism in Ontario for rising hydro bills.
Electricity rates in Ontario are among the highest in North America. Prices have gone up by about 15 per cent for the average consumer in Ontario.
Friday’s agreement with Quebec comes two days after MPP’s unanimously passed legislation to waive the 8 per cent provincial tax on electricity, starting in January. Last month, the Liberals also backed out of a $3.8 billion plan for renewable energy like wind and solar.