Ontario’s Auditor General shared a damning report on Friday detailing how the province funded nearly $210 million in electricity in transactions that were no longer considered eligible.
“As in other provinces, the number of ineligible payments made by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has been growing significantly and has now become a significant impost on Ontario ratepayers,” Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk wrote in the report.
The OPA provides much-needed funds for cleaning up the Ontario power system, though there are concerns over how that has played out over the past decade. The arrangement has changed due to the energy regulations of the day, but the result has not — some companies have passed through from Ontario to the United States at a larger rate than once thought possible and power rates have been higher than expected.
The report provided shocking examples of ineligible energy payments made by the OPA, most of which never underwent the normal review process. Lysyk’s office also found questionable election campaign contributions from OPA-funded companies.
Opinions were mixed in the auditor general’s office about why the payments were no longer appropriate. While the province can’t force businesses to pay the money back, they may also be eligible for a refund and lose that level of support for the next round of energy incentives.