COLUMN: The benefit of public utilities

SOUTH DUNDAS — The manufactured belief that publicly-owned utilities like Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, Cornwall Electric or Rideau-St. Lawrence Utilities are for our own good, is a falsehood. Public ownership has morphed over the decades from being for the common good, to another form of high taxation and waste.

When the Hydro-Electric Commission of Ontario, predecessor to Ontario Hydro, Hydro One and the like, was first created it was to bring electricity to the masses. Then as time went on, that role was to ensure that there was economical electricity for those masses. This would spur growth, industry and jobs. To see this, look no further to our own area where so much was changed 60 years ago in the name of progress, the Seaway, and for hydro-electric generation.

Yet successive governments from Rae to Harris, Eves to McGuinty and now Wynne have done their best to try to change the system, and it has failed. The Green Energy Act is the latest of a long line of bungles that has helped bleed the wallets of Ontarians dry.

If a publicly-owned utility is to be for the public benefit, then it should be run like it. Electricity rates need to go down, cost-effective methods of generation need to be deployed first, not last, and while the companies should not be run at a loss, it should be revenue neutral and control costs.

The electric utility model as it stands in Ontario now is broken, and we are going broke for it. To call the current model a public benefit is a blatant lie to the users of the system. Either change the model to one that is for the public good, or just sell it off and be done with it. What we have now is unsustainable.

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