In February 2023, after an impassioned meeting, Meaford Council voted 5-2 in favour of a motion to declare the municipality’s conditional support as a willing host for TC Energy’s (TCE) 1,000 megawatt electricity pumped storage project. This, in spite of more than four years of growing opposition from thousands of local and area residents about the many negative environmental and other impacts of the project to be built on the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford.
Just recently, TCE was fined $3.72 million for non-compliance with market rules.
In its October 19, 2023 news release, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) announced that it had completed two investigations of TCE dating back to 2015 and found several breaches of rules:
- providing cost submissions that were not complete, accurate or true;
- providing misleading information; and
- by not correcting information.
While the infractions are not related to the pumped storage project, they are indicative of a company that has a record of being sanctioned for non-compliance.
For instance, in September of this year, British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) issued administrative penalties to TCE’s Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project. One fine of $340,000 was due to repeated non-compliance with EAO requirements. An additional penalty of $6,000 was issued for providing false and misleading information in October 2022 related to maintenance inspection records.
According to the EAO these latest penalties “reflect the EAO”s continued escalation of enforcement due to repeated non-compliance with EAO requirements.” It further states:
“As a result of continued concerns, the EAO has prioritized the CGL project for compliance monitoring, with nearly 100 inspections by air and ground since the project started in 2019.”
The regulatory body has issued 59 warnings, 30 orders – including stop-work orders – and more than $800,000 in fines.
Quite frankly, this litany of offences makes a mockery of the relentless promotion and advertising that area residents continue to endure as TCE touts its record of environmental stewardship and the economic benefits of the proposed project.
“We’re in it for Meaford.”
“Putting Meaford First.”
“This project is good for Ontario and great for Meaford.”
“Just the Facts”
“Let’s set the record straight,” and on and on it goes.
Yes, let’s set the record straight! The fact is, TCE’s corporate behaviour seems questionable at best, and as both the IESO and EAO suggest, they have been misleading at times.
In my view, this dubious track record could reflect poorly on our town’s future. Do we really want to be known as a willing host to a company that has so often disregarded market rules
Anne Boody Horwood, Meaford