Ontario Tories caused Hydro mess

Posted on December 15, 2013 in Governance Debates

TheStar.com – opinion/letters to the editors – Re: Hydro One pensions rival OPG’s, Dec. 13
Dec 15 2013.   Paul Kahnert

Skyrocketing Hydro rates? In a province-wide campaign, we told you so. We warned the province that this would happen with Hydro deregulation. It’s no surprise that OPG and Hydro One are paying big bucks to their executives. The Harris/Eves Tories told them to act like corporations. Looks like they took that advice to heart.

For 95 years Hydro’s profits went out to businesses and citizens in the form of low and stable rates and made Ontario into the economic engine of Canada. But the Tories couldn’t stand that profit going out to everyone and took steps to stop that.

Shortly after Harris was elected there was a huge campaign to deregulate and privatize Hydro. promising that “Deregulation would lead to lower rates.” That legislation changed all Hydros, both provincial and municipal, from non-profit public companies into for- profit corporations. Tim Hudak voted in favour of that legislation.

The question we repeatedly asked on the record was: “How do you get lower Hydro rates when you add in profits to generators (OPG), profits to distributors (Hydro One, Toronto Hydro), profits to retailers (those pesky door-to-door salespeople), dividends to investors and commissions to commodities brokers (IESO market)?” The electricity market, by the way, was designed by our friends at ENRON. Add all that in with obscene executive salaries and you get skyrocketing rates with no end in sight.

The deregulation experiment has failed miserably to lower rates in Ontario as we said it would. It is one of the main reasons for our troubles in the manufacturing sector and our ailing economy. Time to reregulate Hydro in the public interest, not keep it for the private few.

Paul Kahnert, former spokesperson, Ontario Electricity Coalition

< http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2013/12/15/ontario_tories_caused_hydro_mess.html >

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