January 15, 2015

Sunshine needed amidst potential conflict of interest  

A full public review of the huge deal being negotiated between the Ontario government and Bruce Power is critical given a large potential conflict of interest for those helping to shape the government’s negotiating position and responsible for power-system planning.

Two unions representing workers at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) also have significant investments in Bruce Power, holding a total of 7% of the equity in the more than billion dollar private company. This arrangement puts IESO staff in the uncomfortable position of supporting negotiations with a company whose success or failure could have a significant impact on their union’s bottom line. The investments held by the Power Workers Union and the Society of Energy Professionals are not pension plan investments – they are direct investments of union funds in Bruce Power, creating a powerful link between the company’s profitability and the two unions’ financial positions.

Given the recent serious conflict of interest concerns raised at one of the newly merged IESO’s predecessors, the Ontario Power Authority, the government needs to take this potential conflict very seriously. And that means bringing these backroom negotiations out into the light of day by ordering a full review of any draft deal by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).
An OEB review can ensure that any deal reached with Bruce truly is in the best interests of all Ontarians and that it represents good value for money. It is also our best chance for an unbiased comparison of any Bruce Power deal to other options, including lower cost electricity imports from Quebec.
Premier Wynne has stated that “We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country.” Only a full public OEB review of any Bruce deal can meet that standard.
Please send a letter to Premier Wynne here calling for a transparent review of any proposed Bruce deal, especially in light of a potential conflict of interest.
Thank you.
Angela Bischoff