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NEWS: London, Ontario faces privatized hydro, water and solid waste services

MetroNews reports, “(London) city council is expected to vote Monday night on taking a step further into a utilities partnership with Edmonton-based EPCOR. The proposal, which won support at last week’s finance and administration committee meeting, would see the company join forces with London Hydro to deliver electricity. EPCOR has also tabled a plan in which the company would manage other municipal services, such as water and solid waste. If approved (tonight), the city, EPCOR and London Hydro would explore details of the arrangement privately and bring it back to council at a later date.”

Epcor Utilities Inc. is a utility company which manages numerous municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities throughout Alberta and British Columbia. For instance, it owns the water system in White Rock, south of Vancouver, and manages several small systems on Vancouver Island. A Canadian Union of Public Employees-British Columbia fact sheet notes that, “Epcor Water Services continues to promote privatized water and wastewater systems in Alberta and British Columbia.” And now in Ontario.

The London Free Press adds, “The Alberta energy giant came to the table with more far-ranging ideas of buying not just into the electrical utility but also the city’s water, sewer and waste business, services that come along with between $5 billion and $10 billion in assets. The Edmonton utility hopes a partnership would then grow to acquire or operate other utilities across Southwestern Ontario. …Early supporters of the notion are enticed by what dollars might flow to city hall, money that might be used to help pay for some of the ambitious $700-million pitch by London Mayor Joe Fontana that could include a new city hall, a performing arts centre, a downtown beach and water, sewer and other services needed to develop lands along Hwy. 401.”

Newstalk 1290 notes, “Last month council was presented with a report on the possible amalgamation of utilities, which would see electricity, water services, solid waste and parking all fall under the same umbrella. …(On Wednesday) a fear of losing accountability and rate increases left some members of the finance committee unsure of the partnership. However, by the end of the meeting the finance committee agreed to explore the EPCOR partnership idea further. Staff will deliver a report on the issue by the end of March.”

Don McLeod, facilitator of the London chapter of the Council of Canadians, has put the word out for people to be at the City of London Council Chambers (3rd Floor Gallery) at 5 pm tonight. He’s also encouraging people to read and http:/// More soon.