The electricity sector in Ontario, as in other parts of the world, is experiencing massive and rapid change.
In the past six months we have seen a changing of the guard at the top of the house of OPG, Hydro One, and now Bruce Power. Changes at the Chief Executive Officer positions of all three companies come at a time of significant junctures in business operation altering initiatives.
PowerStream, Enersource and Horizon Utilities are poised to merge and purchase Hydro One Brampton to form the second largest distribution company in Ontario.
As these transitions in corporate leadership and governance structures take place, each of the four companies is positioned for success in its own way. The PWU has played a big role in the evolution of each of these companies and will continue to work closely with the new leadership teams to ensure that, first and foremost, these are successful and sustainable business operations in which employees will share in the benefits of that success.
The recently announced refurbishments at Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) are great news for electricity consumers, Ontario’s carbon footprint, all PWU members, construction workers, suppliers, engineers, the Ontario economy and Canada’s broader nuclear industry.
Once completed, the refurbishments will set the stage for the operation of the Bruce Power station to 2060 and the Darlington OPG station to 2055.
The planned extension of operations at the Pickering OPG plant to 2024 is more good news, particularly for the 2,500 plus PWU members working there.
Hydro One remains an integrated transmission and distribution company despite the efforts of many to tear it apart and sell it off in pieces. The result is a healthy public-private partnership company with the potential and incentive to grow both inside and outside Ontario.
Carmine Marcello (pictured to the left), former President and CEO, left Hydro One in the transition from the provincially-owned company to a public-private partnership last August.
Mayo Schmidt (pictured to the right) replaces Carmine and, along with a newly appointed Board of Directors, will be charged with growing the company for the benefit of both public and private shareholders.
Tom Mitchell (pictured below to the left) retired as the President and CEO of OPG in July of 2015, five months before the Darlington and Pickering announcements.
Jeffrey Lyash (pictured to the right), an industry journeyman with an extensive project delivery background in the nuclear industry, has taken the helm as the refurbishment of Darlington begins and preparations are made for the extension of the Pickering operations.
On February 1 of this year Duncan Hawthorne announced he would retire as President and CEO of Bruce Power. The announcement came on the heels of the December Ministry of Energy announcement that Bruce Power and the Ontario government had reached an agreement to start the major refurbishments of units 3 through 8 in 2020. Although many expected Duncan to stay longer, this timing should give Bruce Power adequate opportunity, both to recruit a new President and CEO, and for that person to take charge of the refurbishment program well in advance of its scheduled start in 2020.
Duncan (pictured to the right) has a long and storied history with the PWU dating back to the year 2000 when British Energy was bidding to operate the Bruce Nuclear Power Development. In 2001 Bruce Power was established with Duncan as President and CEO, a position he has held since that time through several ownership structures that he was instrumental in helping to put together. He guided the company in negotiating 7 collective agreements with the PWU and for most of those he participated directly in the bargaining process.
In 2012, Units 1 and 2 were successfully restarted bringing all 8 units into service for the first time in 17 years and the Bruce Nuclear Power Development was once again the largest nuclear generating station in the world.
Duncan has not only been a key player and partner in the success of Bruce Power, he has long been an energetic, effective and dynamic leader in Ontario’s nuclear industry. Duncan will remain in his current position until a new President and CEO is selected.
Change is not limited to the top of the house. The skilled workforce is getting rapidly younger as the Baby Boomers continue to retire and the Millennial Generation establishes its presence at the entry levels (We will talk much more on that subject in future editions).
Relationships are a key to success in our industry and as always, the PWU will continue to reach out to the new leadership at all of these companies in an effort to create the honest and open dialogue needed to develop and maintain valuable partnerships.