LTE: Selling off Hydro One is short-sighted

SDSG New Democratic Federal/Provincial Riding Association Past President Brian Lynch. (Newswatch Group/File)

Dear Editor:

The Ontario Government’s decision to sell off 60% of Hydro One, the Crown corporation that builds and operates the province’s power grid, is a short-sighted gamble for a one-time cash grab. It is definitely not in the best interests of Ontarians.

Privatization will result in higher electricity rates as ratepayers will be responsible for paying for the profit margins of the private companies. Earlier privatizations of the hydro sector since 2002 have already led to the tripling of hydro bills. The provincial government will also lose annual income from Hydro One, a public monopoly whose profits flow back to the provincial government to support vital public services.

When the Mike Harris Conservatives announced plans to privatize Hydro One in 2002, the Liberals were strongly opposed because it would drive up electricity prices. What was a bad idea in 2002 is still a bad idea today. Nor did Premier Wynne campaign on the privatization of Hydro One during the June 12, 2014 election campaign.

The Ontario NDP has proposed a series of measures to get hydro bills under control. The NDP would cap the salaries of CEOs in the energy sector, end the practice of subsidizing exported power, stop any further privatization in the system and merge Ontario’s four hydro agencies into a single company.

Once Hydro One is privatized it will be out of public hands forever and consumers will be paying higher electricity rates forever. There is real value in keeping Hydro One a lucrative and efficient electricity transmission monopoly fully in public hands.

Brian Lynch
President, SDSG Provincial NDP riding association

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