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Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter criticizes City Council decision to sell hydro utility

The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter opposes the 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.

It has been engaged in a dynamic campaign against the sale since the issue was first made public this past February.

Chapter activist Roy Brady has highlighted that the sale would mean a loss of local control, accountability and would likely lead to higher electricity rates. He says, “Selling off publicly owned assets like PDI is about nothing more than making a few people a lot richer at the expense of everyone else.”

An Environics Research poll released in April found that 93 per cent of Peterborough residents oppose the sale of PDI.

Despite this, Peterborough city council has now voted for a final time to sell the utility.

The Peterborough Examiner reports, “There were moments in the 5 1/2-hour meeting when the plan was nearly set aside, however. Coun. Keith Riel asked to have a referendum on the sale of PDI at the next municipal election in 2018. But there was no vote on that possible referendum. …Several citizens [also] asked council to defer their final vote so citizens can take extra time to have their questions about the sale answered. [Chapter activist] Kathryn Langley asked council to wait six months.”

The news article highlights, “Brady, who has long advocated to keep PDI in public hands, said he was very unhappy with council. ‘What we have is a vote – and then people are supposed to effectively disappear’, he said. ‘This is elitist governing.’ Brady also said he’s concerned this is the first of several publically-owned assets that could be for sale, in the future. ‘What are you going to do if someone offers to buy our water utility?’ he asked council. ‘You might say, ‘Yeah!’ And we do this all over again.'”

KawarthaNow.com adds, “Brady, chair of the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, expressed a popular sentiment by asserting ‘democracy is being violated’ by council moving ahead with the decision to sell PDI despite strong opposition to the move.”

That article notes, “Ahead, lawyers for Hydro One and PDI will finalize legal documentation covering the sale. After, a public process involving the Ontario Energy Board will commence and take some nine months to complete before Hydro One assumes control of local electricity distribution.”

Brady says that contract will be ardently challenged.

For numerous blogs about the Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter campaign to stop the sale of PDI, please click here.