Saturday, October 26, 2013

Authorities comment on Electricity Planning in Ontario/ Parkinson's Laws exemplified

An opinion piece in the Toronto Star caught my attention yesterday, and while it is rarely worthy of nitpicking on details, my sometimes collaborator Parker Gallant also posted a piece; one which will correct some of the misinformation presented in the Star.

Did Ontario make the right decision on nuclear power? | Toronto Star | Opinion (R. Michael Warren)
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) plans the power system, generates the power and promotes conservation. It predicts gross energy demand will rise 9 per cent by 2022.
The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) balances the daily supply and demand of power, and directs its flow around the province. It disagrees with OPA, predicting Ontario’s grid electricity demand will drop to 1992 levels by 2022.Who to believe? The Wynne government is betting heavily that the IESO forecast is more realistic. The premier and her team are acutely aware that the province’s energy planner, OPA, has consistently overestimated the long-term demand for electricity and underestimated the cost of new nuclear power.
A month before Energy Minister Chiarelli’s announcement, the Pembina Institute and Greenpeace released a joint report. They used a freedom of information request to unearth the IESO’s prediction of dropping demand — data that was likely already available to the minister. It supports his decision to halt any further investments in new nuclear plants.
Continue reading at the Toronto Star

The Star has changed the original post.  A note currently explains, "This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly referred to the Ontario Power Authority as the OPG."

Which is nice but the updated wrong version states the OPA "generates the power."
They don't.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) generates power ... in Ontario

The OPA generates coupons and other paper.

Parker Gallant's latest provides information on the latest from the OPA universe - which is doing what universes and bureaucracies do.

Parker Gallant on Ontario Power Authority: new plans are afoot! | Wind Concerns Ontario:
One needs to travel back several years to understand the context of planning as it relates to Ontario's electricity sector. It started with Dwight Duncan's creation of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) a “temporary” agency. The OPA was created to provide an Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP) that would look ahead 20 years and decide the makeup of how we would generate and consume electricity. It had offshoots which included the use of “smart meters” and development of a “smart grid” that the Liberals hoped would be the envy of the rest of the developed world, create jobs and make Ontario the “leader of the pack” in all that is “green” and “smart”!
Coming full circle to today (late 2013) we know now that the Liberals ultimate creation was neither smart nor enviable. Its effect is that Ontario is poised to become the highest priced electricity sector in North America!

Planning by the OPA created two versions of the IPSP both of which were tossed in file 10 (the garbage) by the Liberals. That temporary agency, the OPA, now appears a lot more permanent and will likely outlast the Liberal governmentOne needs to travel back several years to understand the context of planning as it relates to Ontario's electricity sector."
Continue reading at Wind Concerns Ontario

I covered the Pembina/Greenpeace/Ontario Clean Air Alliance report in NENGO's target nuclear at expense of the environment.  The IESO is not tasked with long-term planning.  It originated as the Independent Electricity Market Operator (IMO) - the market thing didn't work so well, so they changed the adjective describing the operator to "system".

Parkinson's Law | The Economist
The Law of Multiplication of SubordinatesTo comprehend Factor I, we must picture a civil servant called A who finds himself overworked. Whether this overwork is real or imaginary is immaterial; but we should observe, in passing, that A's sensation (or illusion) might easily result from his own decreasing energy—a normal symptom of middle-age. For this real or imagined overwork there are, broadly speaking, three possible remedies
(1) He may resign.
(2) He may ask to halve the work with a colleague called B.
(3) He may demand the assistance of two subordinates, to be called C and D.
There is probably no instance in civil service history of A choosing any but the third alternative. By resignation he would lose his pension rights. By having B appointed, on his own level in the hierarchy, he would merely bring in a rival for promotion to W's vacancy when W (at long last) retires. So A would rather have C and D, junior men, below him. They will add to his consequence; and, by dividing the work into two categories, as between C and D, he will have the merit of being the only man who comprehends them both.
It is essential to realise, at this point, that C and D are, as it were, inseparable. To appoint C alone would have been impossible. Why? Because C, if by himself, would divide the work with A and so assume almost the equal status which has been refused in the first instance to B; a status the more emphasised if C is A's only possible successor. Subordinates must thus number two or more, each being kept in order by fear of the other's promotion. When C complains in turn of being overworked (as he certainly will) A will, with the concurrence of C, advise the appointment of two assistants to help C. But he can then avert internal friction only by advising the appointment of two more assistants to help D, whose position is much the same. With this recruitment of E, F, G and H, the promotion of A is now practically certain.
The Law of Multiplication of Work
Seven officials are now doing what one did before. This is where Factor II comes into operation. For these seven make so much work for each other that all are fully occupied and A is actually working harder than ever.  For these seven make so much work for each other that all are fully occupied and A is actually working harder than ever. An incoming document may well come before each of them in turn. Official E decides that it falls within the province of F, who places a draft reply before C, who amends it drastically before consulting D, who asks G to deal with it. But G goes on leave at this point, handing the file over to H, who drafts a minute, which is signed by D and returned to C, who revises his draft accordingly and lays the new version before A.
Read the entire article at The Economist (warning for strict evolutionists/modernists - it's from 1955)

Ontario's electricity sector is but one example demonstrating C. Northcote Parkinson's laws.

I'll end with an application of Parkinson's work in scoring of the success of global bureaucracies addressing addressing climate change (from Twitter):


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