12/07/2011 09:59 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 05:12 EST

Ontario fails to meet almost all its energy conservation targets: Commissioner

TORONTO - Ontario consumers pay too much for electricity because the Liberal government isn't doing enough to promote conservation, the opposition parties charged Wednesday following a critical report from the province's environmental watchdog.

The Liberal government failed to meet virtually all of its conservation targets, reported environmental commissioner Gord Miller.

"However, the targets were ambitious, and despite the shortfall there was lots of peak energy conserved," Miller told reporters.

"Demand was reduced by an amount equivalent to not having to build about three new natural gas-fired peaking plants, and we all know how popular those are."

The Liberals clearly did not take energy conservation seriously enough and were not ambitious enough in their targets, said New Democrat critic Peter Tabuns.

"The fact they failed to meet their targets is going to mean higher costs for electricity for families because conservation is the least cost option," said Tabuns.

"They should have been going full tilt to reduce the demand for electricity so we could reduce the amount of money we spend on new generation."

Ontario's Green party said the Liberals' failure to prioritize conservation increases utilities' bills for everyone.