Ontario Electricity Regulation Crisis Report Part 134: Toronto City Council Requests that Al Capone Review His Taxes

A motion adopted by Toronto City Council this week has “requested” that Tony’s Hydro “conduct a review of the September 2016 power outages in the CityPlace neighbourhood”. The motion is inaction pretending to be action.

Toronto Hydro’s CEO Anthony Haines is a master of using self-investigation as a means of covering up negligence. One example is how he slipped away from demands for an investigation after the ice storm of December 2013. In that case, most of the damage to the utility’s overhead distribution systems was caused by trees contacting wires. The consultant Haines bought and paid for to investigate the utility’s performance was the same consultant that had previously redesigned the utility’s forestry management program. (For further explanation, see this post and pay particular attention to the comments.) The “independent inquiry” that he assembled was composed exclusively of established advocates for his cause. (See this post.)

If there was to be a real investigation of the CityPlace blackouts, the main issues would be:

– What were the planning decisions that left CityPlace with the electrical connection capacity in place in August 2016?
– How truthful were Toronto Hydro’s repeated assertions that the blackout was caused by aging infrastructure?
– Did the operational decisions taken as the blackouts occurred conform to good utility practices?

Toronto City Council has proven unable to supervise its largest investment, which is now run without oversight by and for the utility’s management. Council’s inaction on the CityPlace outages appears to be more of the same.