The recent announcement that Loblaws will be installing solar photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of more than 100 of its stores is not cause for celebration by Ontarians. Despite the green spin the company puts on it, Ontario ratepayers will see their electricity costs go up as a result.

“This initiative is part of Loblaw’s overall effort, through the use of renewable energy sources to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Bob Chant, vice president, corporate affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited. “We believe green energy production using innovative technologies such as these pilot projects, supports our commitment to the environment.”

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Based on the success of the initial four pilot projects, Loblaw will then evaluate the next phase of roll outs.”These projects will create a new source of income for businesses while providing new clean and green electricity in Ontario — particularly on hot, sunny summer days when demand soars,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. “With our new domestic content rules, these projects will also help create new green collar jobs here in Ontario as well as major economic investments in equipment and services here at home.”

Ostensibly, Loblaws is doing this to be “green.” Yet while Ontario households typically pay on average 5.7¢ a kilowatt hour for their electricity (current wholesale rates are a little over half that), Loblaws will be receiving 44¢ a kilowatt hour for any power it produces, the cost of which gets fed back into your electricity bill. (I guess that’s why they call it a “feed-in tariff.”)  So, the more power Loblaws and the other 509 fortunate companies produce, the more our electricity costs go up.

For Loblaws, this is just their latest greenwashing scheme. The company has a long history of involvement with WWF Canada, which their clients unwittingly support every time they shop there.

It’s long past time to find a new grocery store.

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