At the request of the Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan (CIC), Robertson Stromberg has completed its independent investigation into the legal issues surrounding the troubled SaskPower Smart Meter program. The results of the review were made public at a news conference on October 28, 2014.
Findings included a breakdown in risk assessment, particularly protection against risk of a safety defect. The contract with Sensus limited the rights of SaskPower to claim damages from Sensus where the loss was a result of defective meters.
It was found that SaskPower did not focus sufficiently on the safety qualities of the smart meters. Only after reports of smart meter fires elsewhere did customer safety appear to have become a matter of central importance.
Prior to procurement and installation of Sensus meters, SaskPower received information which should have acted as warning signs. Had they “stood down” the program they could have protected themselves from the economic loss flowing from the safety defect.
There appeared to be a lack of ownership of risk management issues in the early stages of the AMI project, a critical time for risk identification.
The roles and responsibilities of those dealing with external legal counsel were found to need clarification. The relationship between a variety of consultants and the SaskPower legal team may have contributed to a disconnect between those who drafted the contracts and the buyer procurement team. Some members of the project indicated that it was sometimes difficult to know who was a SaskPower employee and who was a consultant. Some key individuals in this process did not appear to have knowledge of critical facts.
SaskPower was encouraged by legal counsel to purchase and install small numbers of meters in order to allow time to judge performance. This advice was not followed.
In preparing this report, the Robertson Stromberg team reviewed thousands of pages of contracts, reports, emails and general documentation. In addition, the law firm interviewed 20 employees and consultants of SaskPower, and used its own resources for contract review and information gathering. Gary Young, RS group leader, spoke at the news conference on behalf of the RS team who worked on this project including M. Kim Anderson, Jared Epp, Dustin Gillanders, and Kelsey Burke.
Misty Alexandre and Bill Preston will again be presenting sessions at the Saskatoon Construction Association’s workshop Construction 101: A Comprehensive Introduction to the Construction Industry. The aim of the course is to provide new and existing construction workers with the basic tenets of the construction industry.
Misty will speak on “Legal Matters – Basic Principles and Typical Contract” and Bill will address “Tendering, Bidding and Award of Contracts – Calling and Receiving of Bids.
The seminar will take place at Prairieland Park on October 29.
Jennifer Pereira will again be offering advice to UofS College of Law students on how to present themselves outside the classroom. Her session, Finishing School: Etiquette Lessons for Life Outside the Classroom, will be a primer on etiquette for receptions and dinners, including introductions, dining skills, appropriate dress, posture and grooming. Jenn will be at the College in Room 150 on November 5, 1:00-2:00 pm.
The current issue of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law magazine of Note showcases the volunteer work of graduates of the college. Among those profiled, and featured on the cover, is Robertson Stromberg’s Candice Grant.
Candice has been a member of the board of directors for CHEP Good Food Inc. for more than four years including her current role as board chair. In the article Candice talks about the many positive programs that CHEP is involved in to help improve access to good food and promote food security in our community. She sees the direct influence of programs such as community gardens and the collective kitchen program. She also has witnessed CHEP’s move to Station 20 West adding to the many benefits offered at that location.
Candice’s commitment to volunteerism extends beyond CHEP as she has been a big sister with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Saskatoon, is on the board of the Saskatoon Public Library and is the chair of the School Community Council at Dundonald School.
In the article Candice acknowledges Robertson Stromberg’s tradition of community support. She says the firm “is always very supportive of lawyers who want to give back to the community”.
Candice is proud to be a part of organizations that do good work in our community and we are proud of the role she chooses to play outside her busy practice.
The Basics of Estate Litigation: Claims under The Family Property Act andThe Dependants’ Relief Act, 1996 and Challenges to Testamentary Documents
Presented in October 2014 by Sean Sinclair and Curtis Onishenko for the Saskatchewan Trial Lawyers’ Association.