Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Just like a skunk that won't go away

Issues surrounding the Windsor Utilities Commission and it's sister Enwin continue to pile up. Latest up to bat with a few questions is Windsor Star blogger Don McArthur.
Curious that. The fact Zalev works for Enwin raises interesting questions. Will an audit of WUC, as the city has requested, be able to look at the compensation paid to him and others if they don’t actually work for WUC? What else won’t the audit be able to probe because of this division of responsibilities between the two groups?
Councillor Alan Halberstadt's blog would seem to answer Don's question:
The Municipal Affairs Ministry, if you look on its website, says this about provincial municipal audits: Nothing in this Part gives to the Ministry any jurisdiction with respect to any of the affairs of a municipal utility commission, licensed under the Ontaro Energy Board Act, 1998, which is only engaged in the distribution, generation or retailing of electricty."
Hopefully Windsor gets an aggressive auditor with wide-ranging terms of reference. One part of the above sticks out for me. The relevant portion states "which is only engaged in the distribution, generation or retailing of electricty."

In my view, this opens the door to looking at Enwin as they are not only engaged in distribution, generation or retailing of electricity. By virture of their service agreement with WUC and Maxess communications unit, they are also in the business of providing services outside the realm of distribution, generation or retailing of electricity.

While the electric components of Enwin may be off-limits, the remainder of the business and it's links with WUC should fall under the purview of the Auditor - as long as the terms of reference allow it.

One way to ensure the widest possible terms of reference is to have a few words with Dwight Duncan and Sandra Puppatello when they come knocking on your door over the next few weeks. I'm sure they'll plead all sorts of excuses not to get involved such as remaining impartial, not tainting the process and anything else they can think of. The fact remains, they are our Provincial representatives and Windsor residents need them to convey our concerns to the Minister of Municipal affairs. Their input to the Minister may be the only way citizens can have a say in this process. Don't let them plunk a sign on your lawn until you've received a commitment to ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs for the widest terms of reference possible.

If we line up like the usual lemmings and send both of them back to Toronto without speaking out, we will have squandered our last opportunity to have any impact on the WUC fiasco.