Ontario Hydro – Abusing Taxpayers

February 23, 2011
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It looks like electric rates are rising again in Ontairo. The OPG wants an increase of over 6%. They made the 6% look like a bargain as they originally were asking for a 9.6 per cent rate increase. Don’t be deceived about it being over green energy or a $18 Million fine they had to pay.

It is about the machine feeding itself. The rate increases are due to outrageous compensation packages paid by OPG. My recent blog on Hydro Ontario showed how most of the cost of running the organization was associated with the huge labour costs. 

Well there is a sister to Ontario Hydro called OPG. It employs about 12,000 across Ontario. Over half of these employees or about 7,900 showed up on the Sunshine List for 2009. This is the list of earners on the government dole making in excess of $100,000 per year.

The Sunshine List only shows the salaries of these employees. It does not include the total compensation they receive in pensions and benefits. For most of these employees the taxpayers of Ontario will kick in another 35% towards these fringe items.  So that a employee that shows up with $100,000 on the Sunshine List is costing the taxpayer around $135,000,

Assuming that the employees on the Sunshine List earned just $100,000. their total compensation cost you as a taxpayer over $1 Billion. Of course there are all those employees not on the list probably earning close to $100,000 and many on the list far exceed the $100,000 threshold.

Obscene Compensation
The number of employees on the Sunshine List from OPG is an insult and affront to Ontario taxpayers. But they are just small fish compared to the big Kahunas. (Joe M keep me posted on this),

A 2009 compensation report from OPG shows the real damage to taxpayers of the irresponsible use of taxpayer money to fund the personal pension plans of those running the organization.

Although the numbers seem to be fraudulent and put out as some sort of a joke, I think they are real. That makes them even more horrifying. We can see why Clitheroe wanted to sue taxpayers over her paltry $350,000 a year pension.
Statement of Executive Compensation – OPG

The first portion of the report on page 7 shows the pension and compensation values of the senior executives. A new President and CEO was awarded a 3 year agreement beginning in 2009. That is all the time he will need to become faboulously wealthy and get onto the next government appointed job.

His total compensation was $1.591 Million in 2009. It only shows as $1.011 Million on the Sunshine List  for the same year. This compensation appears to be only for half the year as the outgoing CEO and President made $1.717 Million the same year as well and $3.451 Million the previous year. Of course the outgoing President only shows earnings of $2.475 Million on the Sunshine List the same year he made the $3.451 million.

Thats not all 
There is lots more pain to come for taxpayers. The employees working for OPG have a long list of special benefits they are paid. None of these benefits are paid to the private sector but are part of the public sector collective agreements. They include a laundry list of goodies such as retiree health care plans (for those who retire before 60, they still get benefits), sick time payouts, vacation leave payouts and termination severances.

The total liability on these benefits is close to $2 Billion. See page 125 of the OPG Annual Report  

In 2009 the company contributed $ 271 million into the company pension plan. Since the wages are so low at OPG employees only contributed $ 86 Million into the plan.Most companies in the private sector split the cost of pensions with their workers. At OPG employees contribute only 24% into their gold-plated plans.

Oh by the way. This is not enough money for the pension fund. They are figuring these rates at 7% rate of return for the pension fund. Any guesses who will be covering future shortfalls?

OPEB’s or Other Post employment Benefits are escalating at OPG. They are a debt paid to employees who no longer work there but participate in the other benefits. Can you imagine your employer saying here is your gold watch but we are going to pay for your health benefits for the next 10 or 15 years? As you leave we will pay you for 20 years worth of sick days you did not take. We know it is hard to take 10 sick days a year.

More to Come
If you are not feeling ill already go to page 8 look at the value of the pensions for the executive. The NEW CEO is “entitled” to $750,000 year or $62,500 per month at age 65. Of course, this amount will increase every year and probably by the end of his contract will be close to $1 Million. That is $1 Million a year in pensions payments for retiring.  

One executive member has already accumulated in excess of $4 Million in pension entitlements. One would think that someone earning $750,000 a year could save for their own retirement. How do you spend all that money? You would not have to save any of it for retirement, that has already been taken care of by taxpayers.

This is the real reason Clitheroe tried to sue Ontario taxpayers for a $33,000 per month pension. She had pension envy.

Bill Tufts
Fair Pensions For All

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