Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 125 Guest Post: Stonewalled by Guardians

What follows is a guest post presented by two former Toronto Hydro employees, Paul Kahnert and David Grant. They document their unsuccessful efforts on behalf of a larger group of retirees with intimate knowledge of the utility to engage the City’s Ombudsman, the City’s Auditor General, and the Ontario Energy Board in investigating malpractice at Toronto Hydro. The post and its attachments document how these concerned experts were lead on, then stonewalled or simply shut down from the start by three separate agencies mandated to protect the public interest. Continue reading ‘Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 125 Guest Post: Stonewalled by Guardians’ »

Guest Post: “Who Will Regulate Electricity Distribution?” by Jay Shepherd

Toronto Hydro is by far the most costly and least reliable large urban electricity distribution utility in Ontario. But, behind the fog of the New Year’s holiday season the OEB slipped out approval for yet another whopping suite of rate increases, rewarding more bad behaviour at Toronto Hydro. Typical of the standards of truth that now adhere to almost all official pronouncements on electricity, the official spin was that “the OEB approximates that this Decision will increase the distribution portion of the bill by 5%.” Several New Year’s news reports faithfully repeated the junk official line about 5%. Last Friday, when Toronto Hydro issued a draft rate order reflecting the OEB’s decision, a different picture emerged.

Starting March 1 this year, the average Toronto Hydro residential customer will see the distribution portion of their rate (the part associated only with Toronto Hydro costs) jump 21%, with steady increases annually thereafter stretching out to 2019. Small and medium-sized businesses are getting screwed less — 5% for small businesses and 13% for large commercial/medium industrial come March 1.

Keep in mind that the March 1, 2016 increases come hard on the heels of the most recent OEB decision on Toronto Hydro rates, which approved a previous round of massive rate hikes.

What’s going on at the OEB?

Readers following my “Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report” series may have noticed my admiration for the work of energy lawyer Jay Shepherd. He has authored a guest column here in the past and I have frequently drawn on his research (including here).

What follows is a piece he posted last week, reposted here as a guest column. Shepherd’s conclusions about the current state of energy regulation in Ontario are less harsh than mine. Where he sees that the OEB may have stopped protecting consumers, I have concluded that the OEB has become a discreditable rump, operating illegally and used merely to provide cover for government initiatives to use the energy sector as a “revenue tool”. The reason I recommend you read Shepherd’s piece is his powerful reasoning and documentation. Continue reading ‘Guest Post: “Who Will Regulate Electricity Distribution?” by Jay Shepherd’ »

Hey Bob

Over the last two years, I have posed questions focused on Ontario electricity rate drivers to Ontario’s Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli on Twitter. Minister Chiarelli is an active Twitterer. He has yet to respond to any of these questions. Here’s a sampling of those questions. Continue reading ‘Hey Bob’ »

Top 10 Posts in 2015

My two most popular posts over the last year (here and here) both focused on my Twitter dust-up with then provincial ombudsman Andre Marin over his ignorant statements where he encouraged Hydro One customers to default on their bills. Among Marin’s comments, he nominated my “blog for the Pulitzer Price for Fiction” and claimed that I am a “Hydro apologist”. When APPrO’s president supported my analysis, Marin commented that I was “admired by @davebutters and butterscotch buddies”. Happily, Marin’s term was not renewed by the legislature. Continue reading ‘Top 10 Posts in 2015’ »

Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 124: Toronto’s Interim Ombudsman Responds

I received the attached letter from the City of Toronto Interim Ombudsman in response to my posting at Part 122 of this series. The new letter, which follows a letter from Hydro One’s ombudsman (Part 123), characterizes my comments in Part 122 as containing “misleading statements”. I have comments on several details of that letter. To keep an eye on the big picture: former Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean recently took a job where she claims now to be a protector of Hydro One customers after having pretended to investigate what I suggest is overwhelming evidence of gross negligence and yet another instance of out and out lying by Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines (here is some documentation on his many fake CVs) . After this pretend investigation, Crean did not so much as issue a report on Toronto Hydro. Rather than investigate, Crean’s actions shielded Toronto Hydro from scrutiny. Her response, amplified by her former office, to Part 122 of this series reinforce my concern that Hydro One consumers cannot have confidence in Crean.
Continue reading ‘Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 124: Toronto’s Interim Ombudsman Responds’ »

Gas Busters Part 75: McGuinty Exonerated

The news and commentary circulating about criminal charges against former Premier McGuinty’s Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff emphasize that McGuinty has not been charged and is not under investigation by the OPP. In considering McGuinty’s success in skating away from his involvement in the gas plant scandal, remember this passage of his sworn testimony before the Justice Policy Committee of the Ontario Legislature May 7, 2013: Continue reading ‘Gas Busters Part 75: McGuinty Exonerated’ »

Gas Busters Part 73: Original Request to OPP from MPPs Fedeli and Leone

Attached is the original letter MPPs Victor Fedeli and Rob Leone sent to OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis on June 6, 2013. The letter closes with the two MPPs asking the OPP to “investigate this latest cover-up to ensure the laws of the Province of Ontario are upheld and to deter similar behaviour from ever happening again.” Continue reading ‘Gas Busters Part 73: Original Request to OPP from MPPs Fedeli and Leone’ »

Happy New Year: Ontario’s 2016 Power Rate Shell Game

Ontario power rates will increase dramatically in 2016 but tracking the changes will be challenging. The multi-dimensional, inter-temporal shell game of Ontario power rates will kick into overdrive. Here are a few of Official Ontario’s tricks to watch. Continue reading ‘Happy New Year: Ontario’s 2016 Power Rate Shell Game’ »