Top 10 Posts for 2014

In 2014, like in 2013, investigative reports about Toronto Hydro drew the biggest audiences on Several posts on Toronto’s Union Street blackout of April 2014, Toronto Hydro’s inability to inform consumers with anything like useful information during the ice storm of December 2013, and “infrastructure renewal” in the form of gold-plated garbage cans were all subjects in the top 10 this year. In previous years, posts on the details of administrative law have not topped the charts but this year two items on admin law in Ontario made the top 10. Other subjects topping reader’s interests were the Liberal gas scandal cover-up surrounding the cancellation and relocation of power plants in Oakville and Mississauga, the costly and nearly useless green power project in the heart of Bala, Ontario, and foolish assertions from the likes of Ontario’s energy minister Bob Chiarelli, Environmental Defense, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Ontario branch.

The #1 post this year was Toronto Hydro’s Phony Infrastructure Deficit, an investigative report on how Toronto Hydro’s careless, OEB-approved program to rip out and replace perfectly good power poles and other infrastructure on Union Street in West Toronto shorted out a major Hydro One transmission line on the night of April 15. The resulting blackout left a quarter of a million people in the dark. Toronto Hydro’s Union Street “infrastructure renewal” project is part of an ever growing list of projects primarily intended to jack up capital spending and executive bonuses.

#2 was Inside Toronto’s Cold, Black Christmas documents how the CEO of Canada’s leading “Smart Metering” and “Smart Grid” power distributor donned a Hi-Vis jacket to issue a daily stream of always-unreliable restoration promises to the public in the aftermath the Toronto December 2013 ice storm. (It seems amazing that anyone would pay attention to Toronto Hydro’s hopelessly dishonest CEO Anthony Haines, but on the anniversary of December 2013 Global TV gave Haines an opportunity to explain how overall he did a great job during the storm.)

#3 was Law-breaking Reorg at OEB, a report on a reorganization at the Ontario Energy Board, approved by Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, that violates the governance requirements set out in the Ontario Energy Board Act. Of the servers querying my site this year, the third most frequent visitor was the OEB’s.

#4 was a guest post by an authority on regulatory law, Jay Sepherd, called “Dismantling the Ontario Energy Board”. I was disappointed that Mr. Shepherd’s outstanding review and his plea for dialogue on the future of public utility regulation in Ontario attracted only a thin discussion.

#5 Dammed Heritage, Damned Consumers is a summary of developments around the nearly useless, green-at-any-cost hydro-electric project ripping up the heart of Bala, Ontario. Replacing the water falls in the centred of this tourist and retirement town with a concrete tomb that will produce most at times when Ontario is already oversupplied with power illustrates the consequences Official Ontario’s green thinking. The post attracted a wide range of comments, including from both a developer representative and opponents.

#6 Decoding Ontario Electricity Propaganda presented lecture notes taking on the epistemological question: In Ontario’s electricity policy swamp, what is real? I survey informed-sounding but vacuous statements issued by the Energy Minister, an Ontario government-funded green energy lobbyist agency masquerading as an ENGO called Environmental Defence working with a green energy consulting firm called Power Advisory, and the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation’s Ontario branch.

#7 What I Tried to Say at Justice Policy Committee was the opening statement I attempted to present in my appearance before the Justice Policy Committee of the Ontario legislature investigating the gas plant scandal. My intention was to summarize my list of the 12 key facts uncovered over the course of the Justice Policy Committee’s hearings. While every other witness appearing before the Justice Policy Committee was allowed to present their opening remarks uninterrupted for their allotted 5 minutes, the Liberal members Bob Delaney and committee chair Shafiq Qaadri used repeatedly interruptions to block my comments from getting on the record.

#8 Cushy Gov’t Jobs for Gas Scandal Cover-Uppers was a report on the high-paying Ontario government-funded jobs Kathleen Wynne’s government provides to many key gas scandallers, including the key players within the Premier’s Office who attempted to destroy government documents during the transition from McGuinty to Wynne.

#9 Toronto Hydro’s Near Miss breaks a story based on an internal Hydro One engineering analysis explaining the Union Street blackout. The report summarizes findings made by joint team of Hydro One and Toronto Hydro engineering staff within hours of the event. The report documents how Toronto Hydro’s incompetence exposed workers to risk of electrocution. This Hydro One report is posted here. A key element of this report was that Toronto Hydro skipped normal reporting protocols designed to ensure against the type of flashover that occurred. This post also draw attention to a classic Anthony Haines manoeuver: in an interview on CTV with Paul Bliss days after the event, Toronto Hydro’s CEO blamed Hydro One for the outage. The Hydro One report proves that Haines made these comments after on-site inspection from a team that included Toronto Hydro experts had concluded that Toronto Hydro was at fault. Traffic for this post was heavy despite the fact that it was published in early August, when my site traffic is normally low. (My site traffic patterns suggest that much of the audience here is paid to stay current on this site.) Unlike my audience for administrative law research, several informed commentators added substantive remarks on safety and managerial issues inside Toronto Hydro. However, one commentator seemed to have gained the impression that my report disrespected utility field workers, which was not my intention.

#10 Gold-Plated Garbage Cans at Toronto Hydro is yet another scoop, this time on Tony’s Hydro burning more than a quarter of a million bucks for “infrastructure renewal”, replacing what appear to have been perfectly adequate office waste receptacles with the “Smart Grid” version.

One Comment

  1. How is the Hydro allowed to get away with this? Why are the public not informed better in the media? This is sounding corrupt ?

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