With the power lines in downtown Toronto knocked out, a new approach is being considered for replacing them.
CBC News has learned that a company is studying the possibility of replacing the power cables with a type of lightweight material, rather than a steel cable.
“We’re not looking at a high-speed transmission line,” said Joe M. Hickey, president of MMB Technologies, which is looking at ways to connect more than 200,000 residential and commercial power lines to a grid.
But he said the company is interested in making the process cheaper, since it’s much easier to build than building the entire power line in one go.
The company will take a two-phase approach to the project, with one phase starting in the fall and the other in the winter, with the first phase starting this fall and a second in the summer.
“I think we’re going to do it in a way that’s more cost effective,” he said.
Haggerty said MMB will have a test facility on site in downtown London, Ont., and will conduct its work in two phases, starting in 2018 and then ending in 2019.
“If we do the whole process in one year, it will be completed within five years,” he added.
The work could cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million, depending on the size of the project.
Hagerty said the project will be financed through a new government program called the National Grid Infrastructure Program.
He said MMP expects to be able to start the project in 2020.
“There’s a lot of money on the table.
We’re looking to bring in that $500-million,” he explained.
“It’s not just about the cost of construction, it’s about how we can reduce the cost.
And that’s a big part of the future.”
Hagerties comments come after MMB announced a $1.5-billion project to upgrade power lines that are used in hospitals, schools and community centres in northern Ontario.
The project is expected to be complete by 2020, but Hagery said the firm is “considering a much larger project.”
Haggys comments came days after the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced it was cutting the electricity prices of customers, a move that has had an impact on families.
In an internal memo obtained by CBC News, Ontario Power Minister Mike de Jong said the new policy was needed because “the market is not performing as well as expected.”
“This is a time of uncertainty and uncertainty is having an impact in the market,” de Jong wrote.
“This move is not an attack on the power industry, but is aimed at encouraging competition, ensuring affordability and keeping costs down.”
The Ontario government has also been criticized for not using its monopoly powers to force the introduction of new energy technologies.
“The new rules mean that we will no longer be able, with this new power model, to provide consumers with cheaper power at the pump,” said Peter Stoffer, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
He also said the government should have consulted with industry before introducing the policy.
“What we need is a wholesale approach to this, where we’re offering consumers the choice between different options,” Stoffer said.
“To me, this is not good policy.”
Hoggys comments come a day after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the province will not change the price of power until it sees how the power grid will handle natural gas and renewables.
“You have to look at the long term picture, and the longer term picture is gas and renewable energy is going to be the primary energy,” Wynne said.
She added, “We have to figure out how to transition to that.”