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The recent sale of British Columbia utility corporation Terasen to American giant Kinder Morgan is bad news for many reasons, including Terasen’s involvement in Canadian water systems.

Terasen used to be a Crown corporation, BC Gas. Since its privatization in the 1980s, Terasen has been aggressively pursuing municipal, First Nations and resort water and wastewater contracts. With Terasen’s sale, those contracts will fall into foreign hands, raising serious concerns under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Among its holdings, Terasen owns half the water system in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has a 21-year P3 deal with the Victoria suburb of Langford for all new sewer installations and servicing. CUPE is opposing a proposal that would see Terasen take over the water distribution system in a larger area outside Victoria. Terasen also provides water-metering services in Surrey, B.C., and is involved in several First Nations communities and resorts.

The sale is another reminder of the dangers that come with commercialization of water and other public utilities. Business analysts are already suggesting the Kinder Morgan-Terasen deal may lead to the sale of Terasen’s water operations because they are outside Kinder Morgan’s “core business,” putting Canadian water operations up for sale on the international market. Further commercialization of public utilities like EPCOR, Edmonton’s public water utility, primes the pump for similar corporate takeovers.

Earlier this year, CUPE campaigned successfully against a Terasen water P3 in Rocky View, Alta. In August, the municipal district agreed to pay Terasen $372,000 for abandoning the project – another example of the high cost of even “exploring” P3s. The recent sale of British Columbia utility corporation Terasen to American giant Kinder Morgan is bad news for many reasons, including Terasen’s involvement in Canadian water systems.

Terasen used to be a Crown corporation, BC Gas. Since its privatization in the 1980s, Terasen has been aggressively pursuing municipal, First Nations and resort water and wastewater contracts. With Terasen’s sale, those contracts will fall into foreign hands, raising serious concerns under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Among its holdings, Terasen owns half the water system in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has a 21-year P3 deal with the Victoria suburb of Langford for all new sewer installations and servicing. CUPE is opposing a proposal that would see Terasen take over the water distribution system in a larger area outside Victoria. Terasen also provides water-metering services in Surrey, B.C., and is involved in several First Nations communities and resorts.

The sale is another reminder of the dangers that come with commercialization of water and other public utilities. Business analysts are already suggesting the Kinder Morgan-Terasen deal may lead to the sale of Terasen’s water operations because they are outside Kinder Morgan’s “core business,” putting Canadian water operations up for sale on the international market. Further commercialization of public utilities like EPCOR, Edmonton’s public water utility, primes the pump for similar corporate takeovers.

Earlier this year, CUPE campaigned successfully against a Terasen water P3 in Rocky View, Alta. In August, the municipal district agreed to pay Terasen $372,000 for abandoning the project – another example of the high cost of even “exploring” P3s.