Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 89: Toronto Hydro’s Rot

One of the consistent themes that has become clear from my findings over the course of the Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report series is that Toronto Hydro’s management frequently reports inaccurate and/or misleading statements about matters of vital public interest.

Often, the underlying issues are technical in nature.

One example is the utility’s misleading statements, in response to public concern about rising power rates, that its distribution rates were stable over the period from 2005 through 2011. Part 58 of this series unspins the utility’s financial tricks covering up the actual underlying increase — 25%. Toronto Hydro presents its phoney rate history on its web site and CEO Anthony Haines has used it in presentations to Toronto City Council. To my knowledge, neither the mainstream media nor the Ontario Energy Board have ever challenged the utility on its claim of historical rate stability.

Another example is the utility’s inaccurate claims that its responses to outages caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 were as prompt as possible and followed good utility practices. Parts 54 and 55 of this series presented evidence of the utility’s deliberate go-slow storm recovery strategy. I also point to the Ontario Energy Board’s regulatory incentives encouraging slow emergency recovery. To my knowledge, neither the mainstream media nor the Ontario Energy Board has ever challenged the utility’s claims about the adequacy of its recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

Another example is the utility’s inaccurate and misleading statements that the Thornecliffe Park blackout of March 2013 was caused by aging infrastructure. Part 57, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 and 67 report evidence that the real cause was negligent maintenance of relatively young equipment. CBC radio’s Metro Morning, in particular, gave prominent attention to the utility’s claim that the Thorncliffe Park blackout was caused by aging infrastructure. The utility’s reaction to my exposing their false blame statements was to offer hush money to blacked out consumers. To my knowledge, both the mainstream media and the Ontario Energy Board completely ignored evidence I published revealing the utility’s aging infrastructure claim justifying the Thornecliffe Park blackout were knowingly misleading.

But why would a large, technical organization with a vital public service purpose engage in such dishonesty? Even a skeptic might posit that the intention behind each case mentioned here might only have been to cover up operational deficiencies. With the guardians of the public interest unengaged, management’s fear of being held to account would have been lessened.

But then new information emerged about a different type of dishonesty.

Parts 68, 75 and 77 of this series introduced evidence of CEO Anthony Haines engaging in frequent, sustained perjury under oath with respect to his academic credentials. Haines has claimed in many statements to the Ontario Energy Board that he has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Lethbridge, which he claims to have attended from 1979 until 1984. Part 72 provides a letter from the Registrar of that institution noting that Haines enrolled in 1983 and left in 1984 but never graduated.

The Haines phoney CV story points a more widespread contempt for the truth than simply covering up this or that operational deficiency.

As the Haines phoney CV story eventually gained mainstream media attention, the utility’s chairman David Williams responded with a defensive endorsement of Haines. As seen in Part 71, the first reaction of Williams was to threaten me with legal action. Also in Part 71, Williams expressed confidence that Haines had never misrepresented his credentials to anyone. As seen in Part 74, Williams dismisses the Haines CV problem as a “formatting error”. Part 78 documents John Tory’s attempt on CFRB to whitewash the issue and to rehabilitate the reputation of both Haines and Williams. During the so-called “interview”, Williams responds to Tory’s prompting by claiming to have investigated the matter comprehensively, to have determined that the problem is nothing but a “formatting error”, and identifies me as “nonsensical” and “just not accurate”.

It is now clear that Mr. Williams either did not investigate or is an actively whitewashing Haines. Either way, Williams has failed in his duty.

Anthony Haines first appeared before a regulatory tribunal to provide sworn testimony in 1992. At the time, he worked for Centra Gas BC. The tribunal — the BC Utilities Commission — was hearing a general rate application by Centra Gas BC. In May of that year, Haines filed a statement as an expert witness.

As is typical of such evidence, it is structured in a question and answer style.

Q: What are your qualifications and business experience?
Haines: I graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 1984 from the Bachelor of Commerce program with a major in accounting.

See page 36 of this attachment.

Centra Gas BC ’92 Witness Statements

The Williams spin — that the Haines CV problem was only a “formatting error” — does not square with the fact that Haines has been relying on variations of the same fraudulent statement of his credentials for over 20 years.

Toronto Hydro is morally rotten at the top. This moral rot causes operational rot, interfering with the power system’s capacity to perform its prime function of delivering power to consumers reliably at the lowest long term cost. The citizens of Toronto need a utility they can trust.

Lights on, Haines and Williams out.

Toronto Hydro’s Board of Directors has been ordered, pursuant to the motion introduced by Councillor Joe Mihevc, discussed in Part 87 of this series, to respond in time for the October meeting of council.


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  2. Haines just admitted he was guilty of lying about his credentials in the Toronto Star.
    I think he should listen to one or the other spin factories that are telling him what to say publicly about his misrepresentation of his qualifications before any further interviews.
    On the Rob Ford front it may be in Toronto City Hall’s best interests to distance themselves as far a they can with people who are as disingenuous as this.
    Or is Rob just a “loser magnet” that wants to attract shady characters?

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