Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 85: Lights on, Haines out

At Toronto’s City Council meeting July 16/17, agenda item EX32.9 will define the next chapter for Toronto Hydro.

At the June council meeting, council passed a motion directing the City Manager to report on the phoney CVs that Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines has been claiming over the years. As reported here, the motion passed with only one vote against, not a common thing these days a City Hall.

The City Manager’s report has been filed but remains confidential. In addition to his written report, it is expected that the City Manager will be responding to questions from the councillors during an in-camera session.

Part 84 of this series provides a compendium of original documents showing that Haines keeps changing his resume, larding every version with false accomplishments. He has repeatedly sworn oaths attesting to the false CVs.

Last year Haines took home $935,501 from Toronto ratepayers — a 9.8% increase over 2011 — before factoring in his spectacular retirement gains. Ignoring retirement gains and other compensation, Haines’ bonus last year was 95% of his salary, a violation the the City’s compensation policies.

After the mainstream media picked up on my Haines CV research, Toronto Hydro’s chairman, David Williams, issued statements claiming to have investigated all the facts and has stated his conclusion that everything about Haines’ CVs is in order. Williams is sticking with the claim that the multiple examples of incorrect educational dates and a non-existent degree reported by Haines are an insignificant “formatting problem”. Williams not only failed in his duty to be duly diligent prior to my publication of the details of Haines’ false statements, but Williams seems unable to sort out the facts once they are presented to him.

Rather than taking action to clean up the mess, Williams has publicly threatened to sue me several times — such as here — but has not followed through so far although he has had adequate time.

My initial report on Haines’ phoney CV was issued May 6 as a warning to Ryerson University not to award an honorary doctorate to an academic fraud.

Williams is a problem for City council. The utility’s chairman endorsing persistent violations of the utility’s Code of Conduct reflects badly on the City. Council will have to step carefully through the procedural issues of redirecting the utility back toward sound governance without overstepping into micromanagement.

Haines is unfit to lead any utility. The utility’s board should have fired him in January 2012 after his regulatory misadventures at the Ontario Energy Board were properly rebuked. After I published the sordid details of Haines’ personal dishonesty in May, Toronto Hydro’s board should have fired him with cause.

Firing Haines with cause would save the ratepayers of Toronto his $1.7 million firing bonus, which is only paid if he is fired without cause.

The duties of a utility CEO frequently require appearances before the Ontario Energy Board. Having repeatedly perjured himself in sworn testimony, Haines will have no credibility in making future representations to the regulator.

Haines’ CV is a key to unlock wider understanding of the reality of the utility’s deficit of truth.

Toronto Hydro’s truth deficit is blacking out consumers.

Throughout 2012, Toronto Hydro’s management had, at best, careless disregard for reliability. Its emergency response during Hurricane Sandy was the worst of any utility in the path of the storm. Although the utility claimed to have had “all hands on deck”, I documented that only routine trouble crews were on duty when the storm hit. No other utility in the path of the storm was so unprepared.

In March 2013, the utility’s negligence caused the Thorncliffe Park outage. After falsely blaming the failure on aging infrastructure, the utility later confirmed my research showing that the failed equipment was recently installed. Rather than being due to aging, I documented how the equipment failure was due to negligent maintenance practices. Having been unmasked for negligence compounded by false statements about the cause of the blackout, the utility then pursued an unprecedented attempt to cover up the consumer impact with hush money offered to blackout victims. No utility in Ontario has ever pursued this kind of hush money strategy.

The most recent large-scale departure from good utility practices with respect to reliability occurred in the immediate aftermath of the record rainfall of July 8. On July 9th, work crews were still being deployed to routine activities, preventing them from assisting in emergency response. Having invested heavily in smart meters and smart grid initiatives, Toronto Hydro was unable to even maintain its outage notification web site.

My research on the utility’s storm response continues with particular attention to the deployment of key technical staff. People with information are invited to contact me. As readers of this series specifically and my reporting history generally may have noticed, I am committed to the confidentiality of sources who require it.

Under Haines, outages are assets. Reliability shortfalls are used as marketing opportunities to win rate increases.

Haines never tires of spinning half truths about Toronto Hydro’s “infrastructure deficit”. Note that the utility’s rate of capital spending for several years has been more than double the annual rate identified by the utility in 2007 as sufficient to overcome the “infrastructure deficit”.

Toronto Hydro’s regulatory strategy is out of compliance with accepted utility practice. It is only due to the current weakness of the Ontario Energy Board, burdened as it is with the problem of conflicted interests, that the regulator has allowed the utility to continue its reckless course.

Toronto Hydro has, and on its current path will continue to have, the highest urban distribution rates in Ontario by a wide and increasing margin.

Even Councillors who support higher power rates should be aware that the utility’s dividend paid to the city is in peril should the regulator start to look carefully at the value of the utility’s capital spending portfolio.

Utility executives who are both honest and accomplished are available in abundance within Ontario’s electricity distribution sector at half or less than half what Torontonians pay Haines.

Toronto Hydro is weakening our City. It is time for Toronto City Council to take responsibility for redirecting this important asset in a positive direction.

The longer Haines remains, the darker Toronto’s outlook.

Lights on, Haines out.

2 Comments

  1. Relentless research and continued reporting of these FACTS have finally forced Toronto Hydro to address what is being accomplished all across Ontario inside Municipal Councils: “Illegitimate management by unqualified and sometimes actually criminal participants in using consumers and tax payers dollars to “pad their incomes”.
    It is a huge task to keep up a fight for the truth but in the end “the truth will out”!
    Brilliant reporting Tom. Too bad mainstream media is dead!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *