A report, “Toronto Hydro Electric System Customer Briefing”, authored by technical staff within Hydro One, provides the first detailed technical explanation now available of the events surrounding the April 15 blackout that left about one quarter of Toronto Hydro’s customers in the dark. Dated May 1, 2014, the report clearly sets out the risk of electrocution that Toronto Hydro exposed workers to in constructing the misconceived infrastructure upgrade project that caused the blacked out.
(The entire report will be available here in mid August when I get back to my office.)
At page 8 of the report, Hydro One states that Toronto Hydro was violating required protocols and that these violations put workers at risk:
“Although notification protocols exist, Hydro One received no notice and had no knowledge of these construction activities. The poles of the new feeder were approximately 5 feet higher than the existing poles (figure 7). THESL’s installation of these new poles in the Hydro One corridor was done without hold offs. Additionally, Hydro One is concerned that the installation of these poles may have required workers to violate limits of approach to the 115 kV circuits.”
Hydro One’s public statements on the event, documented here, were careful to avoid declaratively stating the danger to workers.
At page 1 of the report, Hydro One provides information on the timeline of the investigation:
“An onsite investigation by Hydro One and THESL resulted in the lowering of the new feeder to acceptable limits on April 16.”
This statement makes it clear that Toronto Hydro knew on April 16 that Toronto Hydro was at fault for the event.
In the days after of the event, and most clearly in an interview on CTV with Paul Bliss, Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines repeatedly blamed Hydro One for the outage, claiming that excessive sag in Hydro One’s lines caused the flashover event. Mr. Haines’s statement is comprehensively and quantitatively refuted by Hydro One’s measurements of the position of the respective power lines documented in the report. At the time Mr. Haines was making these statements, Toronto Hydro’s technical staff would have known that the CEO’s statements on the cause of the event were untruthful.