Ontario Hydro a big shock for taxpayers

February 11, 2011
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Ontario Hydro releases 2010 results.
http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/February2011/10/c9885.html


Every year taxpayers in Ontario are made aware of how Ontario Hydro is being used by its employees as their personal piggy bank.

Politicians and management refuse to stand up to the Hydro employee unions and in fact have promised to guarantee their gold-plated benefits and well into the future. The government makes the promises and you will be paying for them

The top earners from the Sunshine List every year are usually from Hydro. Last year the head of Ontario Hydro was third on the list at $977,000 and the head of Ontario Power Generation came in first making more than $2.2 million.

In addition to the top dogs Hydro over 2,000 employees make it to the list that reports on employees earning over $100,000 per year. This number is only the base salary paid.

Salaries are only part of the story. Employees at Hydro also earn gold-plated pensions and platinum benefits. Benefits and pensions contributions are worth about an extra 35%.

Ontario Hydro just reported their 2010 results and the trend to skyrocketing pension and benefits costs continues. This year Hydro paid almost half a billion dollars for these benefits.

This year the company paid combined pension and benefits expenses of $ 453 million. Costs were $191 million  for pensions and $262 for benefits.

Pensions costs have skyrocketed from $86 million in 2006 to $191 million this year. This is a 122% increase.

In most companies the employees are responsible for a portion of their retirement costs. In the private sector a 50/50 contributions is standard practice. At Hydro however, the employees contribute only 15% of the cost of the gold-plated pensions. Over the past 5 years the company has contributed $585 million into the pension plan and employees made a paltry $99 million contribution.

Employees are entitled to pensions unheard of in private sector. They are entitled to 70% of their average terminating salary. Employees hired before 2005 get a pension based on their top 3 years of salary. Newer employees are entitled to a 5 year average plan.

A recent piece of taxpayer paid propaganda was mailed to Ontario households with a warning from McGuinty that hydro rates will rise for many years to come in Ontario. Now we know why.

The story only gets better. Ontario Hydro does not have to pay all of its costs incurred in a single year. There is a category called Future Employee benefits or OPEB’s, Other Post Employee Benefits. These are benefits accrued this year but to be paid in future years. It is a loan to employees for future goodies. The liability of OPEB’s at Hydro is now just short of one billion dollars. The actual total this year is $980 million up from $716 million in 2005. An increase in liability of 36% since 2005.

OPEB’s mean that Ontario taxpayers in addition to paying gold-plated pensions pay for more benefits at the time of retirement or after they retire.

Some of the OPEB’s include the employee termination packages such as vacation time payout and vacation time payouts. A bonus to be received for terminating employment. Also most will retire around age 55 they are entitled to full health benefits until age 65.

The total of goodies paid to employees plus the loans you have made to them have added up to $2.9 Billion over the past 5 years. Hydro has returned to taxpayers a profit of $ 2.4 Billion.

Please don’t be fooled by election bribes in the form of energy tax credits from the provincial government. For Ontario taxpayers Ontario Hydro continues to be a shocking experience.


Bill Tufts
Fair Pensions For All

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