Academic journal article Canada-United States Law Journal

Keynote Luncheon Address II

Academic journal article Canada-United States Law Journal

Keynote Luncheon Address II

Article excerpt

Introduction--J. Michael Robinson

Speaker--Carmine Marcello


J. Michael Robinson

MR. ROBINSON: I am Michael Robinson, (1) and I am doing something very minor, just making an introduction for Carmine Marcello, (2) who is the Executive Vice President, Strategy at Hydro One, Inc., otherwise known in Ontario as WIRES. (3)

At one time, a prior government in Ontario thought that WIRES should be all privatized--prospects were being drafted, and province citizens were going to own it. (4) But then that all changed. Now, Hydro One is sort of half-pregnant; it is still fully owned by the Government of Ontario. (5) There is also Ontario Energy Generation, which is also wholly government-owned. (6)

I have a slight confession to make and a slight possible conflict. I do have an indirect role in Ontario's electricity generation policy because I am on a review board which hands out grants for community development of alternative energy sources. Ontario has advertised itself as being a leader in North America in this area because of our feed-in tariff in the Green Energy Act, (7) but my task is very easy. The rules say that if you come in with a good idea, here is a check. (8) So the Government is all for alternative energy.

Carmine is one of those executives who knows how to do things. He is an engineer. Of course, he has a Masters of Business Administration, as everybody has to have to have one of these senior executive jobs. But Carmine really knows how to make things. He has worked his way up for well over twenty years in many senior executive positions, using that engineering background, I am sure, and he started at Hydro One when it was quite a different beast way back in 1987.

So without further ado, I am going to let him explain what WIRES does and how it can perhaps get more involved in cross-border United States and Canadian electricity transmission.


Carmine Marcello

MR. MARCELLO: Thank you very much and I would like to thank Dan for inviting me. I fought it tooth and nail. I did not want to come and I will tell you a couple of reasons why.

As a starting point, I am an engineer and I like to get stuff done. I have heard a lot about policy and 900-page documents and all the rest. So part of the frustration was, how do you get all these policies aligned? And the last question from Governor Blanchard in the last session was, should we have a common approach? AI Monaco said, "No."

I will make a personal comment because I do work for Hydro One, (9) an agency of the Crown. We are completely owned by the government of Ontario. (10) We answer to our bondholders, so we care about what Standard & Poor (11) has to say and we do care about operating in a commercial manner, but these comments are my own.

Yes, we should have a common approach. When you think about electricity trade, water, and climate change, and then you take a regional entity, say the Northeast--and I am talking in terms of Quebec, the Maritimes, the northeast United States, Ontario, and from a technical term, I will say the ECAR TJM (12)--or the area we are in right now if you were to run this machine we call "the grid" in an optimal manner, the term "optimal" is very interesting.

If we had a common approach to what "optimal" meant, I would assume both price and reliability would be in included in that approach. Because, if I wanted to get someone's attention, all I had to do was flip the switch in the control room and my lights would go out. Before you knew it, everybody is asking, "What just happened?" So we can turn the lights back on. Thanks for the drama.

You have to remember that keeping the lights on is what folks like me are all about. Everything else is nice and interesting. The second those lights go out no one cares about anything. But with that said, think about a common approach. …

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