Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 115: Toronto Hydro’s Near Miss

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.
http://www.tomadamsenergy.com/2014/05/29/ontario-electricity-regulation-crisis-report-part-111-april-15-blackout-toronto-hydro-caused-safety-hazard/

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.

6 Comments

  1. Dear, Tom

    This is the same deal back in the 1990’s when a toronto hydro trouble room employee in the middle of the night threw a 15K live circuit right into the ground position at blew the vault and himself up at Main street subway station. This Toronto Hydro lineman staff member was burned alive and turned into ashes and dust when he thrown the live circuit right into the ground position.

    Toronto Hydro is hiding lots of hit and miss’s then and today. Whatever they all are smoking within Toronto Hydro I suggest they need to get cleaner and better pot to smoke;)

    Tom you know it and I know it, Toronto Hydro as an Organization ( is times up and something is going to happen )

    Like our new future Mayor and her new city council to put the entire death trap up for sale and let people with the right skills and vision run this company.

    That’s my 2 cents, Tom

    • It’s unfortunate that people who have half the facts feel the need to make comments. As a lineman at Tony’s Hydro I general get a good laugh out of this site. Most of the time, myself and a lot of my peers feel exactly as your followers. We have very thick skin, and can take it when abuse when it is turned at our short comings. For Clarity “Toronto Hydro Linemen” didn’t build the lines that knock the power out in the west end it was contractors who built them. For the most part we do a great job. What real bothers me is when someone trivializes the death or injury of one of our own. I can never imagine talking so matter-of-factly about a fatality of any kind. Some of your comments lead me to believe that you have some connection or knowledge about the accident, but others tell a different story. Not trying to get into it with your followers, and I can see they share our frustrations, but please display respect for fallen or injured workers.

      • Glad you spoke- up and I for one know that those who work directly with electricity have dangerous jobs.

        Commented to a crew a couple of years ago who restoring my power after a storm to take their time and don’t rush as their jobs are dangerous. A little spoiled food doesn’t matter compared to a life lost.

  2. Another great observation by Mr. Adams:

    “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.”

    What to do with public servants like these?

    At the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Energy, the OPA, Hydro One, the OEB, the MOH&LTC– and elsewhere– we should expect there are many people who know that public statements supporting Industrial Wind Turbines — are untruthful.

    Not good for investors.

  3. Pingback: Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 115A: Toronto Hydro’s Near Miss (Report Attachment) | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

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