The Ontario government will continue a program to help large northern industrial companies improve energy efficiency, reduce costs, sustain jobs and maintain competitiveness. The province announced in December that it intends to extend and revise the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) program for three years to support continued growth and development in northern resource and manufacturing sectors.
Current NIER participants could continue to receive a rebate of two cents per kilowatt-hour.
Two pulp and paper companies operating in the region responded favorably to the announcement.
“The extension of the NIER program is an important step forward,” said Richard Garneau, president and CEO of Resolute Forest Products. “The Province of Ontario has recognized the importance of affordable electricity pricing and established programs resulting in an attractive environment for companies like Resolute to invest for the future. “Over the past 18 months, Resolute has announced over $125 million in capital spending for our mills in Northern Ontario. We compete in a challenging marketplace and controlling rising energy costs is a critically important factor in achieving sustained profitability."
Bonny Skene, regional public affairs manager for Domtar, states: “The continuation of the NIER program is helpful to our operations in Espanola and Dryden as we continue to focus on improving the competitiveness of our operations in Ontario. We appreciate the recognition that industry in the North is a key driver of our provincial economy."
The NIER program is available to facilities that consume 50,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, and can reduce industrial electricity prices up to 25%. Participants are required to develop and implement an energy management plan to manage their energy usage and reduce costs.