Brampton Mess

A Brampton power plant “gamed” Ontario’s electricity system to get at least $89 million in payments it was not entitled to over a three-year period ending in 2012, says an explosive new report that warns it could happen again.

The Ontario Energy Board found the Goreway Station Partnership “repeatedly exploited defects” in the system by which the provincial Independent Electricity System Operator pays suppliers for power.

“Goreway routinely submitted what were obviously inappropriate expenses to be reimbursed by the IESO and ultimately borne by Ontario ratepayers,” the energy board concludes in a 55-page report first revealed by CBC Radio.

Goreway has been fined $10 million and repaid a “substantial portion” of the inappropriate payments received — but the report does not specify how much and says that information will remain confidential at Goreway’s request.

The rules by which suppliers are reimbursed for expenses are complex and create “opportunities for exploitation,” the report notes.

While the IESO — which is in charge of arranging Ontario’s daily electricity supply from all suppliers to the system, from gas-fired plants to hydroelectric dams and nuclear plants — is working on the problem, the report adds “that solution is many years away.”

Along with the payback amount from Goreway, names of personnel involved in the management and operation of the power plant have also been redacted from the report.

Lawyers for Goreway disputed elements of the investigation by the energy board’s market surveillance panel (MSP) in a letter dated August 1.

“Although Goreway does not agree with many of the draft report’s findings and conclusions, including that Goreway engaged in gaming or that it deliberatedly misled the IESO, Goreway takes the MSP’s position on these issues seriously,” wrote lawyer George Vegh of McCarthy Tetrault.

“Goreway has implemented initiatives designed to ensure that compliance is a central operating principle at Goreway, that a culture of compliance is supported throughout the organization.”

The measures include the appointment of a chief compliance officer who reports to Goreway’s board of directors.

Energy Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

The energy board report was quietly posted on the agency’s website November 2.

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