Two former OCE board chairs tapped for Toronto Hydro ice storm review panel

January 13, 2014

Toronto Hydro is plugging into the expertise of two former chairs of Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE) Board of Directors as the utility reviews its response to December’s devastating ice storm.

David McFadden and Sean Conway will serve on a three-member Power Panel that will oversee a review of Toronto Hydro's storm response, including electricity grid design and emergency response; urban forestry issues, and customer communications, Toronto Hydro announced on Jan. 9, 2014.  The other panel member is Toronto’s City Manager Joe Pennachetti.

“The inclusion of David and Sean on this panel is a testament to the high calibre of talent OCE is proud and fortunate to have on its board,” says OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. “Their knowledge of and leadership in the energy sector will be a tremendous asset to this review.”

The panel’s work will be managed by Davies Consulting, a leading energy industry consulting firm with expertise in emergency management.

David J. McFadden (OCE’s founding board chair from 2004-2010) has previously served on the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel, the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force that investigated the 2003 blackout, and worked on the deployment of smart grid technology in Ontario.

Sean Conway (OCE chair from 2010-2012) is part of Ryerson University's Centre for Urban Energy (CUE). He joined CUE as a Distinguished Research Fellow in February 2012. From 1975-2003, he served as a member of the Ontario Legislature and was appointed to several cabinet posts.

More than 300,000 Toronto Hydro customers lost power during the December 21 and 22 ice storms. Ice build-up on trees, caused by freezing rain, resulted in tree limbs and branches pulling down power lines and causing electricity service interruption.  Power was restored to approximately 75 per cent of customers within 48 hours, with the remaining customers brought back online in stages through New Year's Day.

Toronto Hydro will conduct its own post-mortem following the storm; and will compile it with results from the independent audit.