The hydro infrastructure is pretty dated save for gas peaker plants, new Niagara Falls hydro capacity, and the new Solar and Wind projects. The reason hydro is so high is that the province contracted for supply of green energy via a feed in tariff, and a massive premium was paid for wind and solar. Even the average working stiff could get in on the action through the “micro-FIT” contract which allowed anyone to apply up to a maximum 10KW array, if you were approved you were paid $0.80/KWHR (not a typo, 80 cents per KWHR) on whatever you fed into the grid. They were 20 year contracts, and we’re roughly half way through.
The other big factor is that the public power generation corporation (OPG) is filled with employees who are on the sunshine list making over 100,000.00 per year. All the employees are unionized even though they work for the government, and over the years their pay, benefits, and defined benefit pension plans have put major pressure on hydro costs.
Finally, right now we have way more capacity than we need, and the province is selling the overage off to PQ and a couple US states for pennies. The shortfall on these kwhrs is added to the hydro bill.
The situation with hydro is one where I may not live to see it get fixed, more likely hydro bills will hit the point were politicians will have to do something or lose the next election. Unfortunately, they’ll probably just kick the can down the road and borrow to subsidize the costs leaving the core problems intact. Right now, our Premiere is selling off the distribution system to private interests up to 60% to raise badly needed revenue, this will likey cause more upward pressure on rates as the combined private interests will hold the majority stake once the selloff is complete. We used to have some of the best rates in the world!
I don’t plan to go off grid with gasification, but it sure would be nice to have the option of supplementing some of my usage via self generation.