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Peterborough chapter at public meeting to hear Navigant comment on PDI sale

Photo: CHEX-TV news report.

The Council of Canadians Peterborough chapter opposes the possible sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. (PDI), the city-owned utility that distributes electricity in Peterborough, Lakefield and Norwood, to the provincial electricity transmission and distribution utility Hydro One.

Fifteen members of the chapter were at a public forum last night to hear Navigant Consulting present to city council on the PDI situation.

MyKawartha.com reports, “At a special committee of the whole meeting at Market Hall, Benjamin Grunfeld and Trent Winstone from Navigant Consulting presented their report about the state of the electricity sector, various taxes that would apply to a potential transaction, current market prices for electric utilities, proposed framework for making a decision and other options for Peterborough’s distribution company. The presentation followed a June decision, when councillors voted to hire the consulting firm, specializing in the electricity sector, for a cost of $30,000 in order to obtain a third-party, unbiased opinion about how to proceed with respect to any possible sale of PDI.”

Navigant did not present an opinion on whether the sale was a good idea or not, citing the lack of an offer to evaluate at this point. MyKawartha.com notes, “If an offer is made, Navigant will return to council with their analysis of the submission and, possibly, a recommendation of whether or not to accept.”

Prior to the meeting, Save PDI chair (and Peterborough chapter activist) Roy Brady told CHEX TV, “What I’m afraid of is that the company is going to frame their report in what the City and Mayor’s office want. Cause you want to be hired, you gotta kind of deliver to the people who hired you.”

After the meeting, MyKawartha.com highlighted, “Roy Brady, who recently filed a freedom of information request to discover the possible sale of PDI to Hydro One first came to councillors in closed session in July of 2014, says it’s important to note the consultants do not seem to be pushing for the sale. Brady is unconvinced Hydro One would be better equipped to deal with the transitional period the industry is entering and says keeping PDI under municipal ownership is the best option for facing the challenges. ‘The local (distribution company) can handle it’, says the Save PDI advocate. ‘In March, I asked the question ‘in what way would Hydro One be better for us’. They (council) haven’t answered it.'”

The Peterborough Examiner adds, “Roy Brady said he doesn’t think Hydro One will be able to meet the city’s needs for energy over time, as people start increasingly using solar power and generating power ‘close to home’. ‘I don’t think Hydro One is able to satisfy our local concerns’, he said.”

The Peterborough chapter has been opposing the sale of PDI since the possibility of its sale was made public in February.

And as MyKawartha.com notes, “Brady says he’ll return to Market Hall next Monday (Sept. 12) for the council meeting and expects he’ll speak as a delegation, offering his insight on the matter.”