SUDBURY, ON – A poll conducted by Environics Research shows a whopping 84 per cent of residents oppose the Liberal government’s plan to sell more than half of Hydro One to private investors. Eighty-one per cent also believe privatization will result in higher rates on their electricity bills.
“This poll tells the government that Sudbury 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, May 20, at the United Steelworkers Hall on Brady Street. Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, will join Hahn and Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, and Felicia Fahey, co-chair of the Sudbury Health Coalition, at the public meeting, to be moderated by CUPE Local 4705 President Darryl Taylor.
“We have research and expert opinion that shows privatizing hydro will raise our bills, reduce overall government revenue and virtually eliminate public accountability. The only people who win in the sell-off are private investors,” said Moist. “When Ontarians find out all of the details, opposition to the plan will grow even stronger.
Last week Ontario’s nine senior public accountability officers, including the auditor general, the ombudsman and the financial accountability officer, submitted a letter to 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 windfall from the sale.
Multiple studies and analysis in the U.S. and Canada conclude that private electricity costs more than public electricity.
“Wherever this kind of hydro privatization has happened, it’s driven up rates,” said Fahey. “For public services like hospitals, long-term care facilities and schools, that’s money coming directly out of their already squeezed operating budgets. Public health care budgets are already falling behind inflation and population growth. Health care in Sudbury can’t afford a hydro rate hit, too.”
Environics Research conducted an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone poll of 975 residents of the city of Sudbury on Wednesday May 13, 2015. The results were weighted by age and gender to reflect the demographic makeup of Sudbury. The results of a survey of this magnitude have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.
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Raw polling results available upon request.