A poll, conducted by Environics Research, shows a whopping 87 per cent of residents oppose the Liberal government’s plan to sell more than half of Hydro One to private investors. More than eight in ten residents also believe privatization will result in higher rates on their electricity bills.
“The poll tells the government that Thunder Bay knows Hydro One is a critical part of our public infrastructure and they want it to stay publicly owned and publicly accountable,” said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, who commissioned the poll.
The poll is being released in advance of a public meeting on the issue, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, at the Lakehead Labour Centre, 929 Fort William Road.
“Wherever this kind of hydro privatization has happened, it’s driven up rates. That will hit everyone’s pocketbook, and it will mean municipalities, schools and hospitals will be forced to cut front-line services to pay for rising hydro rates,” said Hahn. “Skyrocketing hydro rates are bad for our communities and bad for our economy.”
Hahn will be speaking at the public meeting, as will Thunder Bay City Councillor Andrew Foulds and community activist Jules Tupker.
The panel will point to clear evidence that privatizing hydro will lead to increased rates, less accountability and, ultimately, less government revenue for public infrastructure and programs, and will discuss the government’s obligation to consult with First Nations.
Multiple studies and analysis in the U.S. and Canada conclude that private electricity costs more than public electricity.
Nine senior public accountability officers, including the auditor general, ombudsman and financial accountability officer, wrote the government stating that privatizing hydro would eliminate their authority to assess the ‘value’ and ‘quality of service’ the utility provides to the Ontario public.
Economic analysis from the former chief economist for TD Bank and Secretary of State (Finance) in the Chretien government, Dr. Douglas Peters, shows that selling 60 per cent of Hydro One will result in a net annual loss of $338 million to the province, even with the initial revenue from the sale, which he also cautioned would be less than the government is forecasting.
Environics Research conducted an interactive voice response (IVR) telephone poll of 572 residents of Thunder Bay on June 15. The results were weighted by age and gender to reflect the demographic makeup of Thunder Bay. The results of a survey of this magnitude have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Polling results available upon request.
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