Foxes Guarding the Hen House When it Comes to Energy Production

Foxes Guarding the Hen House When it Comes to Control of Energy Production

When it comes to the promotion of clean energy, there is nothing “independent” about the Ontario Hydro Electricity System. The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) of Ontario IESO is the agency that manages the province’s electrical system and acts as an intermediary between power generators and those who use its power, whether they be residential, commercial or industrial users. It describes its role this way: “[The IESO] delivers key services across the electricity sector including: managing the power system in real-time, planning for the province’s future energy needs, enabling conservation and designing a more efficient electricity marketplace to support sector evolution.” Parts of its functions are ” balancing the supply of and demand for electricity in Ontario and directing its flow across the province’s transmission lines” and “overseeing the electricity wholesale market.”

Presently the IESO’s board of directors is made up of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and “8-10 additional individuals appointed by the Minister” of Energy of Ontario who also appoints the “first Chief Executive Officer of the IESO. The board of directors appoints subsequent Chief Executive Officers and appoints one of the directors as chair.”

When examining the biography of these directors, one finds they have held important posts in either big private law firms, in the private mining and/or energy sector, such as Trans Mountain, Enbridge and the Canadian Gas Association. Others have held important posts in the financial sector such as Merrill Lynch Royal Securities, Nesbitt Thomson and BMO Nesbitt. An example is Joe Oliver who is in and out of the public/private revolving door as Minister of Finance one day and Chair of IESO’s board of directors the next.

This is all to say that the IESO is a mechanism through which the government hands over decision making about electricity production and who it serves to those who want to profit it from it.