Ontario announces ongoing funding for Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program
April 7, 2015 - The Ontario government is committing to ongoing funding for the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program (NIER), which recognizes the specific needs of northern industries such as higher energy costs due to climate and distance to markets.
By Renée Francoeur
The province announced recently it is extending its investment beyond March 2016, with continued funds of up to $120 million per year. The government will also undertake a review on the efficiency and effectiveness of the program and options for a sustainable approach.
The program was first introduced as a three-year program in 2010. It was extended for three years in 2012.
“I am delighted to announce that our government is committing to an ongoing Northern Industrial Electricity Rate support program,” said Michael Gravelle, minister of northern development and mines. “As part of our work to help build up the north, this vital program will help Northern Ontario’s largest industrial electricity consumers reduce their electricity costs and sustain jobs to help continue to position Northern Ontario as a competitive place to do business.”
Currently, there are 16 northern Ontario industrial companies representing 23 facilities participating in the program. On average, industrial electricity prices may be reduced by up to 25% through the program. To date, the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program has disbursed more than $546 million.
“The NIER program is a cornerstone of the electricity program in northern Ontario,” said Richard Garneau, Resolute Forest Products president. “We are now completing a $200 million investment plan for our operations in Northern Ontario and our ability to make these investments was due in part to the stability and certainty that we have been able to achieve on electricity costs. Today’s announcement is extremely positive and supports a long-term view of our Ontario operations.”