Toronto- For the millions of Ontario citizens who believe that they own our public utilities, the sell-off and initial public stock offering of Hydro One “is akin to the schemes of swamp land peddlers. The citizens of this province already own hydro. For the Tories to sell it back to them is just plan deceitful,” says Bruno Silano, a member of the Ontario Electricity Coalition (OEC), a province-wide group focused on stopping hydro privatization.
BMO Nesbitt Burns, Goldman Sachs and RBC Dominion Securities have been picked as joint lead underwriters for Hydro One’s initial public offering. While the government insists the commission rate of 2.25 per cent is low, “these companies,” says Silano “stand to make big money off a public asset that was built with the hard-earned money of the citizens of Ontario.
“Private corporations making money is the thrust of the privatization of public services. For-profit investment companies will be the big money winners in the sell-off of hydro, estimated at nearly $6 billion. Ontario residents and business will be the losers, eventually paying double the rates for electricity.”
Last December, outgoing Premier Mike Harris announced that full market competition of electrical utilities would begin on May 1. Since then, many utilities have indicated they will not be ready when the market opens and industry analysts predict that deregulation will cause havoc in the sector as resellers of electricity attempt to win over customers from established utilities.
The OEC is now travelling the province, taking part in community-based public forums highlighting the hazards of privatization and deregulation of hydro. The OEC will attend a forum/workshop in Windsor on February 23.
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For more information please contact:
Bruno Silano, Ontario Electricity Coalition
Stella Yeadon, OEC Communications