TAF urges Ontario government to make city-level gas and electricity consumption data available

If you want to set up an annual budget, you need to know what you’re spending. The same goes for carbon budgets and emissions inventories; only with proper data on natural gas and electricity consumption can municipalities know their carbon footprint – and plan climate actions accordingly. Unfortunately, many municipalities in Ontario are left in the dark when it comes to their carbon emissions. They simply don’t know how much electricity and natural gas is consumed within their city limits – because there is no reporting requirement for utilities.

Closing this important data gap is actually easy as Ontario’s utilities already have the data – they currently just don’t have to publish it. We know that this is a real problem: We surveyed municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and 85 per cent cited the lack of access to data as the single largest barrier to developing or updating local emission inventories.

To remedy the situation, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) has appealed directly to Ontario’s Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault. Our request: direct the Ontario Energy Board (OEB), which regulates utilities in the province, to amend its Reporting and Record Keeping Requirements to include municipality-level energy consumption data.

Changing the OEB’s reporting requirements provides an easy fix to a situation that has hampered Ontario cities for years as they want to take meaningful climate action. The provincial energy minister can simply direct the OEB to make the publication of this important climate data mandatory. Let’s hope the Ontario government acts quickly. Municipalities from Oshawa to Hamilton will be thankful.