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TorontoDespite the Eves governments best efforts to make the sell off of hydro to private investors palatable, a recent province-wide poll shows that Ontarians overwhelmingly oppose the sale of any part of the system, and that they think selling 49 per cent of Hydro One is a bad compromise. The poll also shows that more than 75 per cent of Ontarians arent convinced that private ownership of electricity will mean lower rates.

Released today at a Queens Park media conference by the Ontario Electricity Coalition (OEC), the poll, conducted after the Tories feel good June 17 budget, is the most recent snapshot of Ontarians attitudes on the privatization of the provinces electricity system. Poll results show:

  • 72.4 per cent (nearly 4 out of five people) oppose the sale of Hydro One
  • 76.2 per cent say if Hydro One is sold, electricity prices will increase as private owners increase profits
  • 71.2 per cent think breaking up Ontario Hydro and selling hydro to private investors is a bad idea. Only 15.6 per cent thought it was a good idea.
  • Overwhelming, 77.4 per cent expressed concern that the possible sale of Hydro One meant Ontarios electricity transmission system could end up in the hands of foreign corporations.
  • Almost two thirds (65 per cent) believe selling 49 per cent of Hydro One to private owners is a bad compromise and think it makes more sense to keep it under 100 per cent public control.
  • Even a larger proportion, 69.6 per cent see the governments plan to sell 49 per cent of hydro as just a first step toward selling all of it.
  • 68.4 per cent agree that if private investors owned almost half of Hydro One they would have too much influence on how the government runs the utility.
  • Only 24 per cent are convinced that selling Hydro One to private owners would increase efficiencies that would be passed on to customers.

Clearly Ontarians arent buying the government line that selling off hydro to the private owners is good for consumers. In fact, the harder the government pushes private power, the more and more Ontarians are opposed to it. When nearly four out of five people living on any street in the province oppose the governments plan, it means the Tories have absolutely no mandate to proceed with any form of hydro sell off. Clearly, this government must scrap Bill 58 and ditch its completely discredited electricity policies, said Paul Kahnert, a spokesperson for the OEC.

In December, polls showed 68 per cent of Ontarians opposed hydro privatization. Opposition to the sale of hydro is growing despite enormous efforts by the government to claim selling 49 per cent of Hydro One is a step back from privatization and a commitment to continued public ownership, said Kahnert.

The OEC poll was conducted by Strategic Communications between June 19 and June 24 and sampled the responses of 500 people from across the province.

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For more information please contact:
Paul Kahnert, Ontario Electricity Coalition
(416) 407-0077
Stella Yeadon, OEC Communications
(416) 578-8774
John Wilson, Ontario Electricity Coalition
(416) 466-6426