The proposed sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. to Hydro One threatens local control and runs contrary to the public’s desire to retain public control over local electricity distribution, CUPE Ontario members in Peterborough told a public meeting on the sale on March 3.
“Eighty-eight percent of people recently polled in this community rejected the notion of hydro privatization. It is the responsibility of our elected officials both provincially and municipally to represent the voice of their constituents. There is no mandate for selling Peterborough Distribution,” said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “It’s alarming to think our community is going to hand over this gift, completely unnecessarily, to Hydro One while no other options have been explored.”
Last fall, both the City of Peterborough and the County of Peterborough voted to oppose the Liberal government’s plan to sell off 60 percent of Hydro One, in part because of concerns about rising electricity rates and loss of public control.
Peterborough Distribution provides good jobs and about $1 million a year in revenue to the municipality. Through its parent, Peterborough Utilities Group, it reports directly to the community.
“If Peterborough Distribution is swallowed up by Hydro One, will our community get any direct reporting? I doubt it,” said Adam Coones, a local library worker. “We’ll lose transparency, we’ll lose local accountability, and we’ll lose a major source of revenue for local services like roads, social services and libraries.”
CUPE Ontario is actively opposing the privatization of Hydro One across the province and is a partner in the Keep Hydro Public coalition (KeepHydroPublic.ca).
In Peterborough, members are worried that selling their local utility to Hydro One means it will end up under private ownership, which leads to less transparency and higher electricity rates.
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 250,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.
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