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Energy Task Force Urges for Continued Talks with Province

January 28, 2013 – The Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force (ETF) provided the Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee with an update today on the meeting that took place with the Minister of Energy and officials of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) on Jan. 17, 2013.

The ETF highlighted there is a difference of 900 MW between the two organizations; 400 on the supply side and 500 on the load side. The ETF is now tasked with convincing the OPA that the Northwest's figures are the ones to plan for.

The Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee also identified a number of 'next steps' that the City of Thunder Bay, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce and Fort William First Nation would be taking over the next number of weeks, including a letter to Premier Elect Kathleen Wynne and a detailed letter to the OPA with a request for a meeting in February to continue the discussion.

"We are writing to the Premier Designate to advise her of the seriousness of the problem we are facing, and are asking her to make it her number one priority as she assumes the responsibility of Premier of all of Ontario," said Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee Chair, Councillor Joe Virdiramo.

The ETF also highlighted an issue that emerged since the meeting with Minister Bentley and the OPA.

"The Thunder Bay Generating Station was required to run one of its units flat-out during the extreme cold spell, producing as much as 160 MW of power," said ETF Co-Chair, Councillor Iain Angus.

“Historically, January is always our coldest month and there is no doubt that the Thunder Bay Generating Station is essential to ensure that the lights stay on, homes remain heated and industry continues to operate. As it will take a full two years to convert to natural gas, the longer it takes for the province to make a decision the longer we will be in jeopardy of severe power shortages.”

Angus added that they are concerned that as of January 2015 and beyond there will not be enough power to run the Northwest, which will result in industry shutdown, brownouts and blackouts.

“The Province needs to find an alternative and dedicated supply of power for the Northwest starting January 1, 2015,” Angus said.

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Contact: Stacey Levanen, Communications Officer, 625-3650