Ontario’s Electricity Regulation Crisis Report ““ Part 28: Summary of Developments and Notice of Board Meeting at Tony’s Hydro (Formerly Toronto Hydro)

The long-awaited firing of Anthony Haines, CEO of Tony’s Hydro (formerly Toronto Hydro), could be announced this afternoon following a meeting of the utility’s board of directors.

Here is a short recap of the “Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report” series:

In Part One, this series opened with a discussion of the utility-created regulatory crisis at Toronto Hydro. The crisis has resulted from the utility playing games with the Ontario Energy Board. The utility had presented an absurd plan to jack up rates, tried to apply pressure tactics to the regulator, got dealt a stern rebuke by the regulator January 5, reacted to the rebuke by threatening to electrocute customers, and started mass firings of staff starting with two key executives. One of the executives I don’t know, but the other, Pankaj Sardana, I do know and regard very highly.

In Part Two, I report on careless opportunism by the Electrical Distributor’s Association, sensing that the regulator was in a weakened state. The EDA piled into this crisis pleading its case for weaker regulatory controls on monopolies.

In Part Three, I document Toronto Hydro’s chaotic and not credible capital plans.

Part Four provides some much-needed humour to illustrate Toronto Hydro’s management strategy. Soon after this post, my web traffic hit an all-time high.

Part Five provides a podcast of a radio interview summarizing event up until January 13 and draws attention to an important contribution in the Toronto Star.

Part Six provides the OEB chair’s January 13 letter to Toronto Hydro telling the utility that its key public statements about the January 5 decision were inaccurate.

Part Seven discussed the likelihood of upcoming law suites from unfairly treated contractors that utility will be hit with in all probability.

Part Eight discussed the likely increase in the cost of borrowing arising from the utility’s actions.

Part Nine discussed the impact on jilted contractors and their employees.

Part 10 provided an ironic graphic from Toronto Hydro’s anti-bullying campaign.

Part 11 discussed what the crisis revealed about the working environment for Toronto Hydro employees.

Part 12 was my suggestion to the Electrical Distributors Association and the rest of the utilities in Ontario to distance themselves from the train wreck happening at Toronto Hydro.

Part 13 was posted January 15 and reports on a letter dated January 14 from electricity critic and frequent contributor to the National Post, Parker Gallant, to City Council recommending that Anthony Haines be fired. Realizing that I had been too soft-spoken to that point, I endorse Mr. Gallant’s proposal.

Part 14 reports on Mr. Gallant and I demonstrating in front of Toronto Hydro’s head office on January 16. At this point, I rebrand the utility as “Tony’s Hydro”.

Part 15 reviews a wonderful summary of developments at the utility by Martin Regg Cohn in the Toronto Star. In the review, I argue that the conditions that allowed the crisis to develop arise from the utility’s government ownership. Viewership on this website hits another record.

Part 16 draws attention to another recently rebranded utility in Ontario, Entergus formerly Chatham Kent Hydro, which has a well deserved reputation for efficiency and customer service.

Part 17 provides a letter from management at Tony’s Hydro to the utility’s staff telling them that the Ontario Energy Board is the cause of all their problems.

Part 18 provides a letter from the chair of Tony’s Hydro, Clare Copeland, endorsing CEO Anthony Haines and ascribing cynical motives to those calling out the utility for its bullying. I hope I was in Copeland’s thoughts.

In Part 19, Clare Copeland attempts to negotiate with the OEB through the Globe and Mail newspaper.

In Part 20 I report on Copeland’s ratepayer-funded perks.

In Part 21 posted on January 23, I discuss the prospects for the appeal soon to be filed by Tony’s Hydro. In hindsight, I missed the key role to be played in the appeal by the OEB’s letter of January 13.

In Part 22 I note a sudden surge in press releases from the utility about outages. At Tony’s Hydro, outages are an asset.

In Part 23 gets into the higher octane elements of executive compensation at Tony’s Hydro with a list of the luxury cars that ratepayers generously supply, including a Mercedes Benz S550V4 for Anthony Haines. No Ferraris appear on the list. I also report on the $1.27 million golden parachute that the utility’s board of directors has lined up for Anthony Haines.

Part 24 notes a Toronto Sun story where the utility acknowledges the accuracy of my reporting on ratepayer-funded luxury cars.

Part 25 provides the appeal document from Tony’s Hydro.

Part 26 reports on a personal compliment from Tony’s Hydro as the utility takes to blocking this web site on its internal networks.

Part 27 is a posting from January 26 that connects together elements of one of chairman Copeland’s earlier letters where he says that the utility is failing to meet reliability requirements with the bonuses the utility has consistently showered upon Anthony Haines. This connection later appears in several main stream media reports.


  1. Private companies don’t get into public fights which is in part why they are called private. Executives in private companies have to do more to earn their keep which is why there a car allowance is part of the reward. Unfortunately in the 1990’s public utilities got into the mentallity of behaving like they were private. That doesn’t work because the rewards and risks of failure are completely different, eg why Tony has kept his job this long. Public boards don’t have the moxy let alone the IQ to vote against ultimately government policy and some of the executives play this game well.

    These words in Part 15 are well worth heading. “In the late 19th century, Consumer Gas, much later to become part of Enbridge, threatened a gas blackout on the City of Toronto during a franchise dispute. That pressure play was one of the reasons Ontario Hydro was created in 1906. After that, the private utilities came to realize deeply, in their bones, that they may only ride the magic carpet of almost 100% guaranteed profits if they make a credible effort at consumer service. One of the roles of the private boards of directors is to ensure that the egos of the CEOs do not threaten their utilities’ futures. It is not a coincidence that Canada’s private utilities are almost all excellent companies.”

    I agree also with Bruce Sharp’s comment on ironies. Public entities and the governments have to stop chasing the rainbow in the name of renewable energy, and become much more practical and bottom line oriented. This is where we have a difference between private and government entities. Private companies don’t throw around the money like the public utilities under the governments do.

  2. Eric, Nice summary. Some of those differences (from the private sector) are evident in how they dole out bonusus. If you have a monoply (per the Consumers Gas try in the late 19th Century)and an agreeable regulator, the goals set by the Board of Directors to pay out bonusus become a slam dunk before the results are even known. TH got a rate approval in early 2010 that was a 20%+ rate increase, they capitalize almost 50% of their compensation costs, and the Board set the other goals low enough that are a walk in the park. A private sector company would be bankrupt after a couple of years of this nonsense.

    The criteria for bonusus at TH are below.

    Toronto Hydro from page 41 of the Annual Information Form

    Each of the NEOs (“Named Executive Officers”) achieved his individual objectives for 2010.
    The performance objectives of the Corporation for 2010 were as follows:
    Objective Target Weight
    Call Centre Service 70% 10
    SAIDI (minutes) 80 5
    Feeder Performance (FESI-7) 41 5
    Distribution Plant Capital per unit1 1.150 30
    SAIFI 1.62 5
    Safety (% with no injury) 95% 5
    Safety Leadership 90% 5
    Attendance (# of days absent) 9.0 5
    Consolidated Operating Expense1 $231.5m 15
    Consolidated Net Income 1 $50.6m 15

    1. 60% of the “performance objectives” set are determined by approvals from the OEB for rate increases/capital spending!

  3. Pingback: Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report – Part 32: Weakened OEB Needs Strengthening to Fix Tony’s Hydro (formerly Toronto Hydro) | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

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