Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford holds a rally on Dundas St.in the rain outside Hydro One's annual meeting of shareholders.
Falling in the middle of a vicious provincial election campaign, Ford capitalized on the AGM by holding a rally outside it's doors to remind voters about the increases in pay that both Schmidt and the board received past year.
Ford has channeled voter anger about electricity prices into a defining election issue. Hydro One was once exclusively owned by the province, before Ontario's Liberal government began selling shares in 2015. She has previously called her handling of the file a "mistake."
On Tuesday, Ford supporters staged a protest outside Hydro One headquarters, where board members were meeting.
Ford said he would not have done what Wynne did and sell Hydro One - "our best asset", something she did without even mentioning it in the election.
The rally also included a lone counter-protester. "This is a waste of taxpayers' money", Ford said.
"It's a little premature to say we're going to go in there and buy it back".
On the campaign trail Tuesday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also said raises for the Hydro One board are "unacceptable" and will be part of an ongoing review of compensation at the utility. Which he said will help "determine what if any changes" are "appropriate". In April, Ontario regulators blocked the company's planned $41-million acquisition of Orillia's city-owned power grid over concerns about the long-term affect on the price consumers will pay for electricity. He would receive at least $10.7 million if he is fired in the wake of either government intervention with the company or a government move to replace the board. The utility updated investors on ambitious US expansion plans and raised its common share dividend by 5 per cent. They gave themselves a pay increase up to $185,000. As chairman, Mr. Denison's Hydro One annual compensation rose $70,000 to $330,000.
He said the Progressive Conservative's comparisons to the much lower pay enjoyed by CEOs of government-owned power utilities like Hydro Quebec are off the mark.
New Democrat Peter Tabuns says the NDP plan to buy back shares of Hydro One to return it to public control is the only way to stop millionaires from looking after themselves. This plan is still on the table, but on Tuesday, management said the main drivers of earnings growth will come from consolidating local distribution companies in Ontario and cutting costs - the company got rid of 1,000 vehicles over the past year.
"But we're not losing our focus as an organization in the meantime", he added.
"The increase in directors' compensation will bring the Hydro One board closer to, but still below median of, this broader peer group", the AGM circular states.
But the company has not been able to escape the spotlight in Ontario's provincial election campaign, which the CEO admits Hydro will be glad to see end.
Electricity issues in general have also been hot-button issues in Ontario, putting the actions of Hydro One under intense scrutiny as a publicly traded company.
Asked about Ford's threats to fire the board, Denison told shareholders "we really do believe and feel and expect that calmer heads will prevail". Our team of over 7,400 skilled and dedicated regular and non-regular employees proudly and safely serves suburban, rural and remote communities across Ontario through our 30,000 circuit km of high-voltage transmission and 123,000 circuit km of primary distribution networks.