If your electricity rates were to double, the effect it would have on your monthly bills wouldn't mean more than a few hundred dollars a year most likely. To be sure, that might crush those living beneath the poverty line and those living paycheque to paycheque, but for the middle and upper class, just a mild inconvenience.
But rising electricity rates don't just affect your monthly electricity bills, they can have serious repercussions on businesses and industries. Reading the news today I came across a significant example of how cheap electricity can fuel an entire industry and undermine the industries of other jurisdictions.
The electricity costs per day for that NPI are huge, and yet, the overall costs for electricity from a coal fired power plant only 3-4cents / kWh. Suppose that over the long term, the primary expense for NPI is not the raw material costs, which they get cheap, or the manpower costs, which are practically nothing in China, but the electricity costs. If you were to only double the costs of electricity in that context, NPI would stop being a viable alternative to Sudbury's nickel.
If electricity costs were only half the total costs for each kg of NPI then quadrupling the electricity costs to 12-16 cents / kWh would have the same effect.
So cheap electricity has a huge impact on the effectiveness of an industry to compete on the international marketplace and overcome challenges from new industries.
Something to think about the next time you hear talk about how great it is that wind mills (12 cents / kWh) or solar panels (44 cents / kWh) are being built by McGuinty's government.