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Peterborough chapter opposes sale of PDI to Hydro One

Roy Brady

Brady opposes the sale of PDI to the ‘slowly privatizing’ Hydro One.

The Council of Canadians Peterborough chapter opposes the possible sale of the city-owned Peterborough Distribution Inc. (PDI) to the provincial utility Hydro One.

The Peterborough Examiner explains, “PDI distributes electricity in Peterborough, Lakefield and Norwood. …Mayor Daryl Bennett and city CAO Allan Seabrooke said negotiations with Hydro One have already begun. …On Monday [Feb. 22], councillors will hear a presentation from utility representatives regarding the prospective sale. …Seabrooke said councillors will vote only on whether to start a public consultation; that would mean a public meeting within a few weeks.”

The article highlights, “Bennett says the prospective sale of PDI could mean less-expensive hydro bills. ‘There’s no downside to it (the potential sale)’, he said. That makes Roy Brady of the Council of Canadians bristle: He sees a downside, all right. ‘You’d be selling to a slowly privatizing company – and losing quite a bit of control’, he said. …Brady [also] says there have been consultation processes in the past over controversial decisions such as whether to extend The Parkway. There was much public dissent at those meeting, he said – and it was ignored by council. ‘Consultation means, Alright you can talk – but we’re not listening.'”

As Brady notes, Hydro One is is being privatized. The Ontario government has already sold 15 per cent of the public utility and intends to sell a total of 60 per cent of it. We oppose this because Hydro One raises $750 million in profit for the province each year and public ownership is essential to keeping electricity prices low and ensuring public oversight. More than 80 per cent of Ontarians and 195 municipalities also oppose the sale, along with the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario, the National Union of Public and General Employees, the Ontario New Democratic Party and many others.

The Council of Canadians is encouraging our supporters to write Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne through this action alert and demand that she rescind her plans to privatize Hydro One and instead maintain it as a public service.

The special Committee of the Whole meeting in Peterborough on Feb. 22 starts at 5:30 pm. Peterborough This Week adds, “Peterborough Utilities Group will give councillors some industry background, recent developments, the potential future for PDI and an update on a potential sale. They will also seek approval to start a public process to review the option of the sale.”

As noted above, the public meeting would happen “within weeks” and CHEX notes, “The whole process will likely take months.”