(December 14, 2014) Anyone aware of the fallout from the Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk’s report on “smart meters” knows Ontario’s Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli, challenged her report suggesting the energy sector was hard to understand because it is so “complex”!
Chiarelli did this at a press conference and standing behind him was the highest paid municipal utility sector employee in all of Canada. I refer to Anthony Haines, of Toronto Hydro (T-H), who generated personal income of almost $1 million for employment as CEO for the year ended December 31, 2013.
Exactly why Haines is standing behind Minister Chiarelli is not clear but one must assume it’s meant as a show of support for whatever comes from the mouth of the Energy Minister. Haines is a big supporter of “smart meters” and development of a “smart grid”. Tom Adams noted in November 2012 that Haines “delivered a keynote address to the Ontario Energy Network. In his speech, Haines explained how Tony1. Hydro’s Smart Meters are producing “three million phone books of data per day” and this data is central to Smart Grid technologies that are delivering faster restoration times after outages.”
So Tony, whose annual bonus is partially dependent on Toronto Hydro’s capital expenditures, is a big advocate of spending money on just about any capital assets that can be amortized. T-H frequently tries to gain approval from the Ontario Energy Board for “infrastructure” spending no matter if its to replace something before the end of it’s useful life. Oversight from the owners of Toronto Hydro comes from the City of Toronto who are represented on the Board of Directors via the appointment of three councillors on behalf of the shareholders. The latter are Toronto’s municipal taxpayers. The appointees, in the past, have proven to be pretty “wimpy” when it comes to oversight!
Tony’s love of “smart meters,” and all the data they provide, proved useless during last winter’s polar vortex that affected 300,000 Toronto households who suffered from a loss of electricity service for up to four days. The tweet emanating from Toronto Hydro as they slowly restored power was an indication that Tony’s misguided endorsement of smart meters was not driven by their digital functions in an emergency that Toronto and a large portion of Ontario suffered through. Toronto Hydro issued a tweet that served to prove what our Auditor General highlighted in her report! The tweet from T-H was: “If you have power, please leave your front porch light on. The lights will help crews identify who has power & who doesn’t more quickly.” As one will denote from the above quote, “smart meters” costing Ontario $1.9 billion provided no assistance during the “emergency” caused by the polar vortex.
Tony, by supporting Chiarelli, appears to be trying to ensure T-H’s rate application (before the OEB) carries the sway of the Minister of Energy. The application seeks a rate increase moving the delivery rate for the average T-H customer (800 kWh per month) UP by $18.34 monthly by 2019. The increase of $220.00 annually (plus HST of $28.60) raises the delivery rate from 5.1 cents/kWh (including HST) to 8.10 cents/kWh by 2019. That represents an increase of 59% over five years. Couple that with the promised 42% increase in our “electricity” costs and average Toronto Hydro customers will be faced with average monthly bills well over $200.00 per month.
For some inane reasoning, this writer is inclined to have faith that the AG delivered the truth about the Liberal’s mismanagement of the electricity sector and the failure of smart meters to deliver value. Tony’s endorsement doesn’t validate Bob Chiarelli’s rant!
- Tom Adams and the writer frequently refer to Haines by our nickname “Tony,” both in print and in conversations.
Parker Gallant is a retired bank executive and a former director of Energy Probe Research Foundation. As with all independent bloggers on this site, Parker’s views do not necessarily reflect those of Energy Probe.