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Toronto Hydro aging infrastructure

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Toronto Hydro lashed over blackout

Toronto Hydro is facing criticism for Thursday's blackout across a five-block chunk of downtown, which the utility says might have been caused by flooding.

"We're going to always get rain, we're always going to get snow, we're going to get winds," said Lawrence Solomon, executive director of the group Energy Probe. "It's the utility's responsibility to look after it."

Toronto Hydro blames the 13-hour electrical outage on equipment failure at a downtown transformer at John and Wellington streets. But Solomon said the power company needs to protect its equipment — something it would do better if it had to compensate customers for outages, as is the case in Britain.

"Toronto Hydro doesn't need to be accountable to its customers because it doesn't face any penalties if it provides customers with poor service," Solomon said.

Because of the British compensation rules, blackouts seldom occur in London, he said.

Power outages in Toronto, by contrast, are becoming almost commonplace.

In July, more than 200,000 customers lost power on one of the hottest days of the summer when a transformer caught fire. And much of the downtown was left without electricity one day in June when an underground cable failed.

Much of the equipment making up the Toronto grid is more than a half-century old and close to the end of its useful life. Unless those aging parts are replaced, power outages will be more frequent, said University of Toronto engineering professor Reza Iravani.

"As the components get older and older, the possibility of failure of each component is going to increase," Iravani said.

Toronto Hydro said it continues to investigate the exact cause of Thursday's blackout. The company also said it's looking at long-term solutions to ensure the lights don't go out as often.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/10/15/to-power-outage-hydro-blamed.html
 
To me, this makes for an even greater case to NOT sell Toronto Hydro.

Privately run, this utility would be even MORE lax on upgrading infrastructure than they are now.

That's only true because there's no competition ... unfortunately that's not easy to address. So I agree, selling it will probably result in worse service overall.
 
It would be like buying a house that still has knob and tube wiring. It would have only 60 amp service, but if you want to run your computer, TV, electric stove, vacuum cleaner, lights, stereo system, air conditioning, etc. you will need to upgrade it. Which costs money. Parts of Toronto still have old wiring that needs to be upgraded, especially with the new buildings going up.

800px-Knob_and_tube_1930.jpg
 
Better the City of Toronto, accountable to its residents, running a natural monopoly, than a no-name listed corporation accountable only to its hedge fund shareholders.

When was the city of Toronto ever accountable to its residents? A no-name listed corporation would be responsible to the city or it would lose the contract. If the corporation is accountable only to its shareholders then the city is not doing its job.
 
It is worth noting that there was a 2+ hour shutdown of all Toronto Hydro south of Front Street from Yonge to Parliament a couple of weeks ago. It was not big news because the area is mainly residential but it surely shows that the infrasructure or maintenance (or maybe capacity) is not up to standard all over the City.
 
It is worth noting that there was a 2+ hour shutdown of all Toronto Hydro south of Front Street from Yonge to Parliament a couple of weeks ago. It was not big news because the area is mainly residential but it surely shows that the infrasructure or maintenance (or maybe capacity) is not up to standard all over the City.

Is there any incentives to bring those up to standard? Was there anybody fired at Toronto Hydro? Did any government official have to resign? Will Toronto Hydro be denied future contracts with the city or any other city?

Or should we just rely on the good government to do the right thing and not waste our money?
 
Improving infrastructure requires more money which requires either higher energy costs or taxes which makes a bunch of people believe their government is nothing but Tax-and-Spend Liberals which means they vote in an alternative government that won't do anything except maybe privatize the utility so it's no longer the government's problem. (Then energy rates go up like crazy.)
 
Improving infrastructure requires more money which requires either higher energy costs or taxes which makes a bunch of people believe their government is nothing but Tax-and-Spend Liberals which means they vote in an alternative government that won't do anything except maybe privatize the utility so it's no longer the government's problem. (Then energy rates go up like crazy.)

Well, energy rates still went up like crazy, no? :)

There's nothing wrong with Tax and Spend, as long as the money is spent efficiently on things that people care.

Privatization does not mean "it's no longer the government's problem". The government is elected by the people and represent the people. The government still hand out the contract and they need to be responsible for the results. If you bought a defective TV, would you say to your wife "it's not my problem, the private manufacture was too greedy"? Of course it's your problem. You didn't do a good job picking the brand and/or the retailer. Privatization usually fails exactly because the government thought it would not be their problem anymore.
 
I don't understand the fear many people have of privatizing the Toronto hydro system. Probably more than 90% of the buildings in Toronto are heated with Natural Gas provided by a private company, how many complaints do we hear about this arrangement?

A private bidder would be very encouraged about introducing profitable changes in the way the utility is operated by observing the wastefull way in which day to day operations are conducted ie: 4 men watching 2 men actually do anything. We have all seen this movie.

Safety and pricing are controlled by government agencies, not the utilities. Gas pricing is dictated by the market and is dropping to reflect market pressures.
 
I don't understand the fear many people have of privatizing the Toronto hydro system. Probably more than 90% of the buildings in Toronto are heated with Natural Gas provided by a private company, how many complaints do we hear about this arrangement?
You haven't heard about the predatory sales tactics, the rip off artists, and the people that locked into long term contracts when gas prices were double the current levels?

Let's also think about the numerous gas and oil leaks Enbridge has caused in the last two years due to neglected infrastructure.

The public system doesn't sound so bad...
 
To me, this makes for an even greater case to NOT sell Toronto Hydro.

Privately run, this utility would be even MORE lax on upgrading infrastructure than they are now.


To sell or not to sell is not the issue...

the issue is that the Miller Government has been OVEREXTENDING itselve by paying more dividends than it should and not maintaining enough of a retained earnings amount to ensure future infrastructure can be paid for...


Another sign of bad management? we've learned it from Bob Rae, but I guess we have to learn it again from Miller!
 

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