Declining his opportunity to respect the Ontario Energy Board jurisdiction and to side with consumer interests, Clare Copeland, chairman of Tony’s Hydro (formerly Toronto Hydro) has instead backed his embattled CEO Anthony Haines.
Copeland’s letter, appended and dated Jan. 17th but circulated generally internally within the utility on the morning of the 18th, ascribes cynical motives to those calling out the utility for its bullying. Customers concerned by their utility issuing public statements saying that public safety will be impacted have a reasonable “agenda” in my books.
Copeland, Haines, and gang are now seeking what the utility has described as “negotiations” with the Ontario Energy Board. If the Ontario Energy Board is to entertain any discussions with this licensee under the current circumstances where the licensee appears to be violating its license, all discussions should be conducted in a public forum and with a full opportunity for stakeholders to participate. In U.S. regulatory practice, it is generally illegal for regulators and applicants to have private meetings under any circumstances. In Canada, the rules are more relaxed. While it might be argued that private meetings can be efficient for routine technical issues, in the current circumstances, any private contact between the utility and the regulator would not be conducive to a positive solution to the current crisis.
Tony Hydro – Chair Copeland to All Employees – Jan 17 (18) 2012 Communication
Competition for businesses?
Yesterday Guelph Hydro issue a press release stating “Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. would like to reassure its customers that the safety and reliability of its electricity network is not at risk…”
â€œWhile it is true that some utilities in Ontario will require extraordinary funding for capital expenditures over the next few years to refurbish or replace aging infrastructure, others such as Guelph Hydro, have robust, well-maintained networks that will only need a manageable amount of capital investment.â€
It’s all rather reassuring. Perhaps it would have been moreso if they’d also commented on their senior management’s EQ, including how they’d fared as kids in the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment.
Re: Guelph Hydro, I have it on very good authority that it and utilities in the area are staring down the barrel at a very large large transmission feeder investment(s), i.e. something they would currently been on the hook for, rather than HONI.