Energy Probe's Statistical Handbook: The Other Energy Pie


96 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919849-01-6




Reviewed by Peter Martin

Peter Martin is a senior projects editor at the University of Ottawa


David Poch, an Energy Probe researcher, demonstrates that misleading statistics distort our energy policies and their results. Most studies focus on “primary” energy — the amount produced — rather than “secondary” energy — the amount actually available for use, the energy “that keeps Canadians from freezing in the dark.”

Eliminating the statistical distortions, Poch finds that our megaprojects are wildly inefficient and our nuclear plants are the worst of a bad lot (Darlington, he points out, is costing Ontario Hydro customers between three and four thousand dollars each).

Twenty-one tables and 27 figures present the case graphically, tied together by Poch’s spare, careful text. For the non-statistician, the book looks intimidating, but its arguments are, in fact, easily accessible.

Despite megaproject-skewed policies justified by misleading “primary” energy measurements, we have become significantly conservation-conscious in recent years; GNP is up but energy use is down.

Still, with a similar climate and living standard, the Swedes use just half as much energy per capita as we do. There’s room for improvement here, but it won’t come from more megaprojects; more nuclear plants.

An important case, convincingly argued.


Poch, David I., “Energy Probe's Statistical Handbook: The Other Energy Pie,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed March 1, 2024,