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NEWS: New CEO named to OTPP-owned water utility in Chile

Planet Project water campaigner Meera Karunananthan presents a letter to Esval chairman Pedro Pablo Errazuiz asking for the company to be transferred back to public control, September 2010 in Montreal. Photo by Brent Patterson.

Estrategia reports (in Spanish) that Jose Luis Murillo Collado will become the chief executive officer of Esval and Aguas del Valle on March 11.

In 2011, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (which administers the pensions for 178,000 public school teachers, principals and school administrators, and pays pensions to 117,000 retirees) increased its ownership of Esval from 69.4 percent to 95 percent. Esval is the third largest water utility in Chile, it operates in Valparaiso and through Aguas del Valle and Servicios Sanitarios Las Vegas Limitada in Coquimbo, and has about 665,000 customers. The OTPP also own 95 percent of the water utility Essbio and 100 percent of Aguas Nuevo Sur Maule.

Esval and Aguas del Valle president Jorge Lesser says Murillo “will continue the long-term project that has Ontario Teachers Pension Plan for both companies, aimed at maintaining operational excellence, in line with recognized service quality standards developed by the Canadian pension fund in all its businesses worldwide”.

In February 2010, Blue Planet Project founder Maude Barlow stated, “‘I deeply believe that if ordinary teachers in Ontario knew and understood that their hard-earned pension funds — public pension funds — were being used to undermine public services in other countries, they would be outraged.” Since then, we have been calling on the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan to divest from for-profit water utilities in Chile and for the ownership of these private, for-profit water utilities to be fully transferred back to public control, especially given water and sanitation have been recognized as human rights by the United Nations.

It might also be noted that the new CEO of Esval and Aguas del Valle was previously a manager with Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar). In 2008, Agbar was purchased by Suez and Criteria CaixaCorp. To read Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero’s January 2012 blog about a protest in front of the Agbar office in Barcelona, go to http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12998.

The OTPP will be holding its annual meeting on April 11 in Toronto.

For more, please read:
NEWS: Protests for public education in Chile, while OTPP buys up private water utilities
NEWS: Ontario teacher owned water utilities to be 95% privatized in July
NEWS: Chilean organizations protest water privatization