Rental generators used in Ontario during the blackout in August 2003 cost over C$70 million (US$53 million), according to Canada’s energy minister Dwight Duncan.

The decision to contract rental generators that, in the event, were only used during the blackout crisis has been widely criticised by critics of the government. These critics claim that the government should not have relied upon a ‘stopgap’ measure, but instead concentrated on conservation and developing new sources of power. NDP leader Howard Hampton said that the province would have been far better off to have implemented an energy efficiency strategy, “and it would have achieved more in both the short run and the long term.”

John Baird, who was energy minister at the time the decision was made, said that when the decision was made to contract the generators, it was a C$70 million (US$53 million) insurance policy. The contracts originally were to total C$100 m, but were reduced to C$70 m when the province was able to find other capacity.