Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 130: Stonewalled by Guardians (Again)

Part 125 of this series featured a guest post by two retired Toronto Hydro employees, Paul Kahnert and David Grant, documenting their efforts to get action from the City’s Ombudsman, the City’s Auditor General, and the Ontario Energy Board in investigating evidence of negligence, perjury, and fraudulent claims by Toronto Hydro and its CEO Anthony Haines. Their post has been the most popular post on this site since I reported on Toronto Hydro causing (then Haines lying on TV about the cause of) the Union Street blackout in May 2014. Upon discovering parallels between their work and mine on these same concerns, Kahnert, Grant and I worked together to coax into action even one among the various official guardian agencies in Ontario with responsibilities bearing on these issues. What follows is our report on that effort with supporting attachments. The title of the piece — “There are no rules anymore” — connects to a recurring theme in this series. For example, this old post addresses the need for fixed, written rules around conflict of interest at the OEB.

September 20, 2016

There Are No Rules Anymore

It’s been a long, frustrating journey for us. The politicians and public officers who are mandated to enforce the rules and protect the public interest, don’t.

We assembled a binder of concrete evidence documenting instances of Toronto Hydro’s negligence causing accidents and resulting blackouts, conflicts of interest, resumé fraud and perjury at regulatory hearings. This binder also included real estate deals that didn’t pass the smell test and the fact that Toronto Hydro has raised rates since 2006 $6 billion and put Toronto Hydro into $2 billion in debt with no effective oversight.

We took this evidence to many Toronto city councillors from the “Left”, “Centre” and “Right” of the spectrum. All we got was a few questions lobbed at Toronto Hydro with no follow-up. One councillor who initially expressed an interest in pursuing our concerns, Joe Mihevc (Ward 21), asked a few questions and then broke off his pursuit after Toronto Hydro fast-tracked upgrades in his ward allowing a handful of his constituents cash in on the solar FIT program gold rush. The status quo of irresponsible governance at Toronto Hydro continued apace.

Senior OEB executives, meeting with Kahnert and Grant, refused to accept the evidence of perjury by Anthony Haines. Instead, the complainants were told, “We are going with the evidence we had at the time”, meaning the OEB preferred phoney CVs from Haines over independent documentation proving those CVs to be fraudulent. They did nothing.

Kahnert with Grant and then Adams went to the City’s Ombudsman and got nothing but the run-around. Kahnert and Grant then took their evidence to the city’s Auditor General. (You can read that story in Part 125 of this series.) Under sustained pressure from Kahnert demanding a response, the city’s Auditor General finally responded with a letter (attached) one year and two months after she said she would. And now says she will investigate Toronto Hydro reporting in late 2018, which is after the municipal and provincial elections. If there’s something to investigate, why not now?

Together, we wrote to the Provincial Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk and had a meeting with her office. AG representatives said the issues we raised, including deficiencies at the OEB, are not with their jurisdiction. They did nothing. Notice that the AG’s annual reports included chapters on the OEB in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

And finally, we tried to meet with the new Provincial Ombudsman, Paul Dubé. The attached two letters tell that sad story. After stringing us along for more than two months, his office refused to meet with us and refused to even look at the evidence and information. Our experience with the Provincial Ombudsman directly contradicts the thrust of that office’s publicity campaigns (such as this) to encourage public participation.

We copied our second letter to Paul Dubé to the Speaker of the House, Premier Wynne, Conservative leader Patrick Brown and NDP leader Andrea Horwath. The Speaker’s office said he “can’t comment on political matters and must remain neutral.” Wynne gave a ridiculous I’m-not-listening reply. (Attached) Patrick Brown, despite having contacted two of his offices didn’t reply at all. Only Andrea Horwath and her Energy critic, Peter Tabuns replied with any substance. (Attached)

How is it possible, in this day and age, for someone to lie on their resume (and get paid $1.2 million a year based upon false credentials), lie under oath at regulatory hearings, raise rates $6 billion, put a company $2 billion into debt and allow the Institutional knowledge required to run the utility to walk out the door with no succession plan with no scrutiny let alone with no consequential action from those charged with protecting the public interest?

Anthony Haines is held up by successive Liberal Ontario Premiers and the electricity industry as a leader. Those endorsements appear to be sufficient to insulate him from accountability for negligence and criminality, even by all the supposedly arms-length official public guardians.

If there are people in public office who have the power to enforce the rules, but refuse to when the rules are broken, that means there are no rules.

Who’s looking out for your interests? No one it seems.

Paul Kahnert
David Grant
Tom Adams



Toronto Auditor General defers



Premier Wynne directs us to agencies and City Council


  1. It’s unfortunate that leaders at such organizations create an army of unqualified “yes boss” mafia managers who don’t let the intellectual and hard working professionals succeed, and save the Godfather with utmost loyalty.

  2. Dear Tom,

    I am very sorry that all of your work and effort on this matter went down to: ” deaf ears”

    The only chance you got on this effort that you and your parties have is to: “lobby Mayor John Tory” and hopefully the ball starts to roll from the Mayors Office…

    The Mayors Office is the only and final point of entery for any resolve or resolution on your great resolve on that matters in hand…

    Energy Rate Payers Of Toronto And Ontario

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