In keeping with the season, I have put together my New Year’s wish list for the Ontario electricity industry.
- My most important wish is to wish everyone a safe and incident free year. For the professionals, follow the safety rules and make sure to plan each step beforehand; no shortcuts. For everyone else, leave it to the professionals whenever possible and do not mess with live electricity. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Naturally, I also wish for as few outages as possible for customers including no big provincial ones. It would be nice to wish for no outages but that really is not realistic.
- For the environment, I wish for continued innovation and development of cheaper and more effective carbon-free sources of energy. There is no silver bullet but I am confident we can develop the needed solutions with efforts and ingenuity.
- From the Government, I wish for policies based on facts and reality (like the new low overnight TOU rates) and not based on politics (like the winter disconnect ban). I also wish the government would review and remove/reduce regulatory bodies that are no longer needed (SME) or have grown too large (the Ministry of Energy itself?). Every additional regulatory cost is multiplied by the required compliance in the field.
- From all industry players, especially from those in centralized positions of authority, I wish for an understanding of the wide range of benefits that small local distribution companies (LDCs) bring to their communities in terms of personalized service, fair rates and local knowledge. The supposed efficiencies from consolidation are not these and much more is being lost. Let’s celebrate the small LDCs rather than trying to get rid of them.
- From all the various regulatory bodies, I wish for speedier decisions and much more efficient and less expensive processes. For Ontario to continue to grow we need a regulatory environment that provides a high degree of certainty and regulatory burdens that are fair and manageable. To those that are working towards these objectives: good job.
- From all distributors and transmitters, I wish we would continually check to ensure our practices and charges are in the best interests of our customers. With the need to create new processes, responding to cost and bottom-line pressures, meeting regulatory requirements and having no competitive pressures it is sometimes easy to forget that we are here to serve our customers and help them.
- From all our customers, all I wish is that you be polite. The vast majority of customers are great but there are always a few that feel entitled or are just rude. Nobody likes paying a utility bill but everyone must pay their fair share and most LDCs are not trying to rip off their customers.
- From all our suppliers, I wish you please keep your products coming and at a fair price. Things are unusual right now with supply chain constraints, inflation, pandemic hangovers, re-shoring and all the other factors driving prices up and inventories down. These factors will all eventually correct themselves and LDCs will remember who played fair and who tried to take advantage of the situation unfairly.
- For everyone, I wish a safe and successful new year.
This will be my last weekly blog. I hope to do at least one a month next year but we will see. Next year is looking busy with a Cost of Service application and a number of major projects. Many thanks to all those who have taken the time to read these blogs and an even bigger thanks to those who have commented either online or to me in person. Nothing makes a writer happier than to know he is being read.