It’s blackout blues for big business

National Post

Higher electricity prices and rotating blackouts spurred by Ontario’s power crunch could lead to lower productivity and lost investment, the province’s largest industrial association warned yesterday.

‘It’s a major concern. Manufacturers’ bottom line is under constant pressure,’ said Jayson Myers, senior vice-president and chief economist with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

He said the rolling blackouts, which saw more than 3,000 customers in Ottawa lose power on Monday night, point to the fragility of the system, something that will deter investors.

‘Manufacturers depend on a secure supply of energy just to keep production open,’ said Mr. Myers.

‘And you can’t afford to shut down production if you’ve got brownouts or rotating blackouts or a major failure in the electricity system, so it’s a threat of problem in the energy supply that’s an investment issue,’ he said. ‘It already is becoming a consideration here in some investment decisions.’

As for the rising prices of power, such increases ‘are one of the real problems that companies are facing at a time when you’ve got a higher dollar, competition from China, when you’ve got other costs going up as well,’ he said.

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