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2012 City Budget Cuts Mean Dramatically Higher Electricity and Gas Bills

For Immediate Release

January 4, 2011

Toronto: Toronto residents can expect to pay higher electricity and gas bills for decades thanks to proposed budget cuts to city programs designed to reduce energy use for Torontonians.

“Torontonians pay over $4.5 billion a year for gas and hydro. Almost $3 billion of that is spent on energy never used because of bad insulation, inefficient appliances and obsolete energy infrastructure,” said Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). “The city had money set aside for programs to help residents reduce energy use. Now these programs are being cut.”

The programs are part of the city’s Sustainable Energy Strategy, adopted in 2009, that set out how to help residents and businesses reduce gas and electricity bills through energy conservation and energy retrofit programs (see attached Backgrounder). Now the staff positions to implement these programs are to be cut as part of the 2012 budget.

“There is $3 billion in gravy for Mayor Ford to cut: it’s in our electricity and gas bills and it comes from badly insulated buildings, obsolete energy infrastructure and wasteful appliances,” said Hartmann. “Unfortunately, he now wants to eliminate the very programs that would help us get rid of this gravy.”

Hartmann estimated that these programs would have a huge impact on people’s pocket books. “Imagine a household that spends $200 a month for gas and electricity. A 10% reduction in usage means $20 a month or $240 a year saved,” said Hartmann. “Why is the Mayor not going after this gravy?”

The programs to be cut are all in the Toronto Environment Office (TEO), set up to coordinate environmental efforts across city departments. The TEO was given the task to help set up energy conservation plans for residents and businesses in the city.

“Cutting these programs will save the city about $300,000 or about 43 cents per household,” said Hartmann. “Unfortunately, it will cost households hundreds of dollars every year in higher energy bills.”

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For More Information, contact:

Franz Hartmann, Executive Director, Toronto Environmental Alliance 416-606-8881


 

BACKGROUNDER

 

Finding the Gravy: By the Numbers

 

Total spent by Torontonians on energy annually: $4.5 billion

On electricity: $2.7 billion

On natural gas: $1.8 billion

 

Estimated Annual Cost of energy wasted due to obsolete infrastructure, inefficient appliances

and bad insulation: $3 billion

 

Year City’s Sustainable Energy Strategy was adopted by City Council: November 2009

 

Number of Recommendations in Sustainable Energy Strategy: 72

Number not started: 9

Number in progress: 51

Number completed: 12

 

Percentage Reduction in Natural Gas Use (from 2007) envisioned by Strategy by 2020: 17.4%

Estimated Reduction in Natural Gas Bill for Family Paying $1,200/year: $209

 

Percentage Reduction in Electricity Use (from 2007) envisioned in Strategy by 2020: 11%

Estimated Reduction in Electricity Bill for Family Paying $1,200/year: $132

 

Total Estimated Annual Savings by 2020 to Family Spending $2,400/year on gas and electricity:  $341

 

Annual Cost to Fill Positions in Toronto Environment Office to develop and implement Sustainable Energy Plan: $300,000

Estimated Number of Households and Businesses in Toronto: 696,000

Estimated Savings Per Year for each household and business by not filling TEO Positions: $0.43

For Nine Years: $3.90

 

Estimated Savings to Energy Bills Per Household and Business Currently Paying $2,400 Per Year by 2020 if Sustainable Energy Strategy Targets are Met: $341

Increase in Savings to Torontonians for Meeting Sustainable Energy Strategy compared to cuts to TEO: 87 times

 

Sources:

· The Power To Live Green, October 2009, p. 8, 13 www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-24947.pdf

· 2012 OPERATING BRIEFING NOTE “Update on Status of Climate Change Action Plan; the Adaptation Strategy: & the Sustainable Energy Strategy Recommendations, p. 3 www.toronto.ca/budget2012/pdf/op12_bn_climatechangeperks.pdf

· City Budget 2012 PPFA and TEO Operating Budget Analyst Notes, p.23 www.toronto.ca/budget2012/pdf/op12_an_ppfateows.pdf

· Toronto Hydro www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/ex/bgrd/backgroundfile-24947.pdf

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TEA Media Release - Jan 4 - Higher Energy Bills.pdf100.88 KB