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NDP fear cancelled power plant will cost more than $180M, request auditor general probe

Ontario’s auditor general should be called in to determine the actual cost of the Liberal government’s decision to cancel gas power plants in Mississauga and Oakville, the opposition parties said Monday.

Energy Minister Chris Bentley admitted last week it would cost $180-million in penalties for the Liberals’ move to cancel the Mississauga plant just days before last fall’s election.

NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns wrote an open letter to auditor general Jim McCarter Monday saying “there is much uncertainty about the full cost” of scrapping the plant, which was well into its construction phase when the Liberal campaign cancelled the project.

“Ontarians deserve to know the full cost of the government’s last-minute decision to cancel and relocate the Mississauga plant, and whether or not the government exercised due diligence in minimizing the costs of the contract change.”

The Progressive Conservatives said they were “very concerned the $180 million is just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the costs of cancelling the Mississauga gas plant and another in neighbouring Oakville.

Hudak said the political decisions by the Liberals to cancel planned electrical generating stations that they originally said were needed to meet demand will turn off potential investors at a time when Ontario is overhauling and modernizing it’s power system.

The Liberals’ generous subsidies for wind and solar power in addition to their political interference in building new gas-fired plants are hurting Ontario, he added.

“The problem here is that we have turned energy from a major strength for attracting jobs to our province into a major detriment,” said Hudak.

“And stories like this are going to undermine the confidence of investors in our province.”

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National Post
Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
July 16, 2012