Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 54: Outages are Assets at Tony’s Hydro (Update)

I have confirmed from original documents that Toronto Hydro management did not take the decision to defer routine system maintenance and installation work until 7 am October 30. The mechanism by which that decision is taken is what is referred to as a “Level III Emergency”. Once a Level III Emergency is declared, all planned work is deferred to allow crews to work on storm restoration. Some communication that at Level III Emergency had been declared was not sent out until 8:58 am October 30. (Note: This paragraph is unchanged from the original posting. I have asked Toronto Hydro for definitions of its emergency levels and to confirm when a Level 2 Emergency was declared.)

As of 4 am October 30, Toronto Hydro reported that 60,000 customers were without power, as indicated in its Update #5.

In an email sent out by  Toronto Hydro management at 11:54 pm last night, the utility indicated that “Our primary function first thing in the morning is to get organized early enough so our crews can get be productive ASAP in the morning at 7:30 AM (sic).” One of the priorities of management appears to be, “We need to track when work becomes CAPEX.” CAPEX refers to capital expenditures. Senior management at Toronto Hydro get bonuses geared to increasing capital spending. Historically, storm repair was not considered capital spending.

Post Script: On the afternoon of Monday October 29, Toronto Hydro gave an interview to CBC’s Toronto show “Here and Now” claiming that the utility had “All hands on deck”. That statement is directly contradicted by the statements in both sections of Part 54 of this series.

As of October 30, Toronto Hydro was warning that some outages due to Hurricane Sandy would continue until November 1. Folks who think the Ontario Energy Board should investigate Toronto Hydro’s preparations for and response to Sandy might note that the OEB chair arrived in that job having directly switched jobs from chairing Hydro Ottawa and that Toronto Hydro’s new Vice President for Regulatory Affairs switched jobs directly from being a full time OEB member. Conflicts of interest might interfere with any regulatory review.

Can anyone point to another utility in the path of Sandy other than Toronto Hydro that didn’t have extra trouble crews and repair staff on duty, that didn’t do night repairs, that waited to start the repairs at 7:30 am on the day after the storm started? Can anyone point to a utility that capitalizes storm recovery costs? Tony’s Hydro, under the leadership of Anthony Haines, seems to be unique.

Post Script: October 31 10pm

Once again, John Spears at the Toronto Star rips off the original research presented on this web site without attribution, effectively reprinting what could be a Toronto Hydro press release:

Notice how Spears again fails to ask the interesting questions about why Toronto Hydro thinks it is unique and what executive bonus arose.
Regarding the substance of the press release published in the Toronto Star, notice how the utility’s earlier statements about “All hands on deck” contrast with the now admitted facts first presented on this site.
Post Script: November 1 4am
The on-line version of the Toronto Star story above “Why Toronto Hydro waited to declare a storm emergency” contains a hyperlink on one word in the body of the article, that connects to this site. I did not notice that acknowledgement of this site in reporting on the Star’s coverage last night. Readers of the on-line version of the Star have some means to identify the source that John Spears relies on.
Post Script: 9:20am
The print version of the Toronto Star is a pure plagiarism of my research.
Post Script: November 16, 2012
It is interesting to observe how frequently John Spears provides exclusive communication service for Toronto Hydro’s corporate spin. Here is one example. Here is another. Here is another.


  1. Bruce, They will show up if their are some capital expenditures involved. If they wait long enough you will sue TH and they will lose but they will apply for a rate increase as they did when found by the courts to be charging usurious rates for late payment. Hopefully the suit will entail some capital expenditures (new concrete walls, drainage ditches, etc.) which they will capitalize and Tony and the TH execs can get their bonusus based on the expenditures. Who in gods name wrote that into the compensation scheme and why would the Board of Directors bless it. No wonder TH want to spend billions!

  2. Pingback: Toronto Hydro Planned to Go Slow on Hurricane Sandy Recovery | Tom Adams Energy - ideas for a smarter grid

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