Last night, Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines received another award from the Ontario Electrical Distributors Association (EDA) at the organization’s annual gala. The EDA’s press release says that Mr. Haines was recognized for “his highly effective public communication leadership during the December ice storm.”
Anyone familiar with Mr. Haines’ track record of false signals to customers about power restoration after the ice storm might wonder what the EDA was actually rewarding.
Mr. Haines has a list of achievement that the EDA members admire, but they are not achievements that fit nicely on the plaque.
First and foremost, the EDA members admire Mr. Haine for his record-breaking salary, which last year passed $959K before adding in special pension gains. In an sector that once considered $200K per year an unbreakable ceiling, Mr. Haines leads the way to new standards in compensation.
Mr. Haines has demonstrated that lying about one’s credentials is no barrier to achievement, including gaining the position of chair of the Canadian Electrical Association.
He has also distinguished himself in the minds of the distribution sector by outplaying the distribution industry’s weakling regulator, the Ontario Energy Board. Where once the Ontario Energy Board required the EDA members to move toward incentive regulation which would have kept distribution rate increases to about the rate of inflation, Mr. Haines has proven that rate increases far above the inflation rate can be rubber stamped. Toronto Hydro not only pays its CEO the most, but it also charges by far the most of any comparable distributor.
Mr. Haines has demonstrated his muscle hiring away a member of the Energy Board itself, Paul Sommerville, making a mockery of historic principles that sought to prevent conflicts of interest in regulation.
Rarely does a year go by when the EDA does not issue an award to Toronto Hydro. Last year the award was for “raising awareness about their corporate responsibility”. In 2011, the award was for “Innovation” for such issues as educating consumers not to charge cell phones during the day. In 2010, the award was for “innovation” in the introduction of time-of-use pricing and smart metering.
The EDA’s steady applause for Mr. Haines reveals the electrifying ambitions driving Ontario’s distribution sector into the future.