I spent 10 hours over Labour Day weekend combing through the hydro merger business case. To be honest I was specifically looking for reasons NOT to support the recommendation. I read the business plan looking for details / or the lack of details that would support my basic personal bias that smaller is better.
The business case is about two and a half inches thick, not including the legal agreements and appendices. After combing through the plan I had come up with about 30 questions.
I invited any councillors available to attend to a meeting with Guelph Hydro executives to review the list of questions. After an intensive 3 hour discussion my head hurt and I had a whole new understanding of the many complex issues involved in this decision.
From the very beginning I have argued that the business case for the proposed hydro merger should be made public. I believe that if the business case is solid, public review would only strengthen the recommendation to merge. However, my biggest fear is that by not releasing the business case the general public will feel that Hydro is hiding key issues from the public. I DO NOT believe this is the case.
Hydro executives have been VERY forthcoming with information in regards to our staff, advisors and councillors involved in the review of the business case and I have been told that a number of public interest groups have also had meetings with Hydro to discuss their concerns. In fact, Hydro executives will be available at the upcoming Ward 2 town hall meeting to answer questions from the public.
Unfortunately the legal advise that Hydro has been given subscribes to the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach and they will not be releasing the full business case. Hydro staff have complied written answers to my Hydro Q&A and this can be downloaded here.
The format of the document may be confusing as it was originally prepared specifically for Hydro staff already familiar with the subject matter (It was never intended it to be a public document) nevertheless it will give readers a flavour of the discussion and hopefully add to the debate.