Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ontario Hydrophobic

In our water droplets workshop, we were using tiny seed heads to hold water droplets.  The plants were hydrophobic - so the water formed droplets - they would aggregate into little water balls.  It was fun to watch.  

This was interesting and I looked up hydrophobic on Google and found a wealth of scientific information shown visually - all that knowledge in an instant.  It showed the opposite -  hydrophilic - when water coats the surface.  Then it is flat and spread out.  

It shares a common word with the story in the weekend paper - Hydro, or the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario - Ontario Hydro.  The Globe and Mail revealed government accounting practices that are creatively covering up large debt.  The story is HERE.

Ontario Hydro las loomed large and problematic in our social and economic landscape in Ontario since I can remember.  
The story of Ontario Hydro started in the late 1800's.  It started out generating electric power on the Niagara River.  In 1900, there was a capacity of 400,000 horsepower in development in Niagara.

But by 1922 the quality of Hydro's management was such a concern that Douglas Carmichael quit his position as Commissioner because he thought that the Hydro organization was either inefficient or dishonest. 

I remember  controversy in the 1970's - the largest related to its expansion strategy. In the 1980's there were large increases in rates due to cost overruns.

In 1998, the Legislative Assembly passed the Energy Competition Act to establish a market, and reorganize Ontario Hydro into five companies. In 1999, it  it had long term debts of $26.2 billion - reduced over time with a taxpayer rate surcharge.

I've highlighted only a few of the milestones that mark its difficult history.  There's a listing in this article by Justin Greaves HERE.

The recent Globe and Mail story is a story of how the government (rather than Ontario Hydro) has used creating accounting to conceal the debt that has accumulated because the government charged less for electricity than it costs to produce.  

There seems to be a persistent cloud over Ontario Hydro - the continuing subject of issues and problems - even when it doesn't create them directly.   

So we are now in the month of May - it is May 1st - May Day.  Our spring weather is about 3 weeks behind, so we're just now seeing the first spring-blooming shrubs starting to show colour.  This is Winter Hazel - Corylopsis.  It is considered a 'winter garden' shrub in warmer climates, but here it is an early bloomer in Spring.  

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