Spy scandal lands in lap of new boss

Spy scandal lands in lap of new boss by Jason Markusoff with files from Tony Seskus, The Calgary Herald, The Edmonton Journal, September 19, 2007
Among the many challenges William Tilleman faces as new chairman of the embattled Alberta Energy and Utilities Board is the fact that he’s used to running an agency with seven employees. The EUB has more than 800. That’s a big step up from the quasi-judicial Environmental Appeals Board, which Tilleman headed for 12 years. And it will be up to the Calgary lawyer to steer the massive utilities and power regulator through the aftermath of a snooping scandal in which a private investigator hired by the board listened in on landowners’ phone calls. Calling that action “repulsive,” retired Justice Del Perras urged several reforms in a report released Monday, including an end to the board’s use of covert security. Tilleman is also expected to reconsider the approvals process, move to restore confidence in the agency — whose reputation has been damaged, Knight admits — and deal with any discipline of staff involved in the security controversy. Tilleman comes from outside the board or the energy sector, which critics have long charged enjoys a too-cosy relationship with its regulator. Tilleman pledged to meet the minister’s expectations, without saying what he will specifically do. “I will review this matter swiftly and take the necessary actions to address this situation,” he said in Calgary. “Moving beyond that, I see what is perhaps a more significant issue. Albertans have expressed the feeling that their energy regulator is not hearing their concerns. That’s a serious challenge and one that needs to be addressed in short order, and it will be.”

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