Press-Republican

Columns

January 25, 2013

Cold snap and energy consumption

Whenever we have a cold snap like the one that invaded our part of the world this week, I think of my fellow Canadians in Alberta, who supply the natural gas that fuels our furnace, whose blue flames heat the water that flows through pipes and radiators and heats our house.

I think of Gaz Metro, the company that distributes that Alberta gas throughout Quebec (and part of Vermont) and to which we will pay a significant chunk of our household income this winter.

I try not to think of who actually owns Gaz Metro because it gets very confusing, but it seems it’s mostly owned by my Quebec-administered pension plan. A minority owner is continental pipeline giant Enbridge.

I also think of the political situation in Quebec, where there seems to be a very great ambivalence about the province being potentially self-sufficient in natural gas and oil.

In fact, there’s a lot to think about when one looks at the energy situation of Quebec.

For starters, there is the recent revelation that the provincially owned electrical utility Hydro-Quebec (which used to be a major shareholder of Gas Metro) has what analysts say is a staggering surplus of power. Or rather, it is committed to pay for electricity generated by privately operated wind, bio-mass, natural-gas and water-power projects.

In one instance, according to a published report, Hydro-Quebec will pay a major natural-gas utility some $150 million this year to not operate its power plant between Quebec City and Montreal, and that will most likely be the case for another three years. This has been going on since 2008.

In another case cited in the same report, Hydro-Quebec is on the hook for a hefty loss in its resale of wind power generated by several private operators. One example shows HQ paying nearly 12 cents per kw/hour for juice that it sells for 7 cents.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • ken_wibecan.jpg Another day in the life

    Each morning I rise from bed, slowly, as is my habit, and sit quietly on the bed contemplating the day that looms before me, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR small talk mug 081714 Corner store is no more

    Columnist Gordie Little offers a reminder of the little grocery stores of days gone by.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR skin deep mug 081714 High-end products worth the splurge

    Regardless of the price, writes columnist Felicia Krieg, she would buy the core group of her makeup products over and over again.

    August 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Tax code needs overhaul

    Corporations may be criticized for exploiting loopholes, but it is the complex tax system that is at fault, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Ideas about soil health changing

    New techniques like no-til and cover crops can make soil healthier than conventional tillage, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Economy may have changed forever

    The Great Recession has reordered the workforce in a way that makes it unlikely it will ever be the same, according to columnist Colin Read.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg The dark side of fun funerals

    Something strange happened in American culture in the past decade or two: People started planning fun funerals, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR fit bits mug Developing power key to success

    While strength is important, the ability to generate power is required for many basic activities in life, writes columnist Ted Santaniello.

    August 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • PPR you had to ask mug 081014 Time to reel in youth sports parents

    Do not scream at a child that he's a loser, at least not in a language he understands, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Treating corporations like people

    Problems arise in many areas when businesses take on the attributes of individuals as mandated by the court, according to columnist Colin Read.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice
Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk
Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time