Gas Busters Part 70: “We Have Broken Through”

“We have broken through. CO (Cabinet Office) has facilitated and I will be talking to Dave Nicholl (Corporate Chief Information Officer for the Ontario Public Service or OPS) this afternoon about how to actually get the codes and move forward.” (Line 1599)

This was an email sent January 31, 2013 at 10:20 am (readers might make a mental note of that time) from then Premier McGuinty’s Chief of Staff David Livingston to another key McGuinty insider, former Executive Director of the Ontario Liberal Party then Deputy Chief of Staff of Communications and Strategy and Chief of Staff to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Laura Miller. Days ahead of McGuinty’s exit to private life, Livingston, Miller, and Miller’s techie spouse Peter Faist were scrambling to get the access codes for the computer hard drives in the Premier’s office. They had a plan. Continue reading ‘Gas Busters Part 70: “We Have Broken Through”’ »

Moral Power

The National Post’s Kelly McParland does a admirable job surveying some of the major boondoggles bearing down on Ontario power consumers now and for the foreseeable future. The Environmental Commissioner, Gord Miller, might complain about McParland’s gloss on Miller’s proposed rate increase, claiming that increases in on-peak power rates might be offset by decreases in off-peak rates. However, the credibility of the Libs in executing revenue neutral taxes makes McParland’s version of the story more credible than Miller’s.

One issue McParland doesn’t get into that belongs in the discussion is the dishonesty and concealment creeping into the power file.
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Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 120: Application to Toronto Ombudsman

(Earlier today, I submitted the following request to Fiona Crean, Ombudsman, City of Toronto.)

I am writing to request your office undertake an investigation into the April 15, 2014 Union Street Blackout that knocked out power to about one quarter of the City of Toronto. The factors causing that event and the utility’s response to it indicate governance problems impairing the operations of Toronto Hydro, a corporation under your oversight.

Independent documentation presented here establishes beyond any doubt that Toronto Hydro’s Union Street refurbishment project was carelessly implemented, negligent with respect to worker safety, and directly caused a blackout that hit about a quarter of the city. In a TV interview soon after Toronto Hydro technical staff had participated in a team that determined the cause of the blackout, Toronto Hydro’s CEO blamed another utility for causing the blackout. In addition, I present some evidence, albeit much less thoroughly documented,suggesting that the project or perhaps some elements such as the pole replacement were unnecessary. Continue reading ‘Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 120: Application to Toronto Ombudsman’ »

Top 10 Posts for 2014

In 2014, like in 2013, investigative reports about Toronto Hydro drew the biggest audiences on Several posts on Toronto’s Union Street blackout of April 2014, Toronto Hydro’s inability to inform consumers with anything like useful information during the ice storm of December 2013, and “infrastructure renewal” in the form of gold-plated garbage cans were all subjects in the top 10 this year. In previous years, posts on the details of administrative law have not topped the charts but this year two items on admin law in Ontario made the top 10. Other subjects topping reader’s interests were the Liberal gas scandal cover-up surrounding the cancellation and relocation of power plants in Oakville and Mississauga, the costly and nearly useless green power project in the heart of Bala, Ontario, and foolish assertions from the likes of Ontario’s energy minister Bob Chiarelli, Environmental Defense, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Ontario branch.
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Provincial Auditor Solid on Smart Meters, Chiarelli Lame

With her report on “Smart Meters”, the Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has provided us with a concise, insightful glimpse inside Ontario Liberal’s electricity thinking and their “culture of conservation”. Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s attack on Lysyk as an ignoramus, unable to grasp the complexities of the power system, illustrates clearly the general standard of what passes for thinking inside the Liberal power machine where they decide on your rates, power system technologies, investment levels, administration and oversight.
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Lifting and Shifting Electricity Cost

Fresh from the election of Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEA) architect Don McCabe as prez of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), that organization is turning its formidable lobbying capacities to the issue of electricity costs, now rising for farmers and non-farmers alike as a direct result of the introduction of the GEA.
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Restructuring and Privatizing Hydro One in the Public Interest

This morning, CBC’s Morning North program ran an interview I did with host Marcus Schwabe about the proposal from the Ontario Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, chaired by Ed Clark, which last week issued an interim report proposing in part restructuring and privatizing parts of the Crown-own electricity wires company Hydro One.
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