A picture supplied by a former Hydro One employee. He says it shows workers slacking off on company time.
TORONTO - It's a shocking series of photographs showing Hydro One workers getting paid top dollar to lounge around by a lake and even take a nap.
There is no line for that on customers' hydro bills but it's potentially jolting explanation of the industry's financial mess and skyrocketing rates.
Imagine the freedom, as one former Hydro One worker described, of being on a permanent working vacation up in Muskoka earlier this year with very little emphasis on the work and heavy emphasis on the pay.
In fact, he said, many spend the days working out in rural and remote parts of Ontario sleeping on Hydro One marked boats or docks or making a nice day of it on the lake while the ratepayers paid their wages.
No wonder your hydro bill could be going up 42% in the next five years.
This comes on the heels of Ontario's auditor general pointing out off-the-charts salaries at Ontario Power Generation to a point where a red-faced energy minister decided to fire three top executives.
So while the people responsible for generating the electricity in the province have been called out for their overspending, those who deliver the power don't appear to be immune to abusing your money, either.
Hydro One said it will investigate the photos.
The former worker said they should.
"I worked for Hydro One for six years and I could have done that work in a year and a half," said the disgruntled ex-employee.
The worker said he is upset because he wanted to work but neither the union nor management desired his keen approach.
They shunned him "because I was outspoken and liked to work."
He said he doesn't like to see highly-paid staff snoozing on the job or even comically changing the logo on a truck from "Hydro One" to "Hydro No."
"Slacking off," is how the former employee described it. "Some guys make $60,000 a year, some make near $100,000 but we would only work eight months a year - plus room and board, tax free."
And each day was more about leisure than toil and sweat, he said.
"Guys loved boat work - no one could sneak up on you," said the insider, adding he worked four 10-hour days with two half-hour breaks and a one-hour lunch.
"With an hour of travel time to get to the work site," he said, a worker starts labouring at 10:45 and then lunch.
"I then have to sharpen a saw and fuel up so we start at 1:30 p.m., take a break at 3 p.m. ... until 3:30 p.m and then start packing up to head in."
The former crew member said he was "lucky if you work three hours a day out of 10."
But they get paid for all 10.
Another insider said the reason why guys are sleeping on boats and docks is because they actually have "nothing to do" since a secondary, non-full-time employee crew has been hired to go along with them.
"It's called overflow work - they bring in temps to help with the full-time staff but these labourers end up doing a bulk of the work. Some guys work hard and some don't, like anywhere" he said. "Some of the guys on the crew can be making $50 an hour but the temporary workers make more like $23. It's just the accepted practice and been like this for years. There is a budget and as long as that budget doesn't get burned, this is what happens."
Power Workers Association spokesman Donald Wallace said the union would require more information before commenting.
But Hydro One communications officer Nancy Shaddick asked for "information that would help us investigate including address, date, time and any further information on what work was being completed."
She added she "cannot confirm the context or that the workers in the photo are Hydro One employees working on company time," Shaddick said. "There is no policy specifically on what employees do on their lunch break. However Hydro One's Code of Business Conduct governs all employees."
In a link she sent over Hydro One president and CEO Carmine Marcello wrote "every Hydro One employee is accountable to comply not only with the words on the page, but also with the spirit of the Code."
The veteran of Hydro One labour crews said the code of some co-workers was to make the most money possible for the least amount of work.
And get in some sleep while enjoying the great outdoors, too.