Guelph City Hall.
The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter is opposed to the privatization of Guelph Hydro which distributes electricity to approximately 54,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Guelph and Rockwood.
Guelph chapter activist Richard Chaloner had argued that privatization would mean the loss of local control, higher hydro rates and reduced service.
CTV reports, “A committee tasked with examining all four options [a sale, a merger, maintaining the status quo or even buying another utility] had concluded that a sale or merger would likely make Guelph Hydro more efficient and decrease electricity prices for consumers.”
But The Guelph Mercury now reports, “The sale of Guelph Hydro is off the table. Heading into the 6 p.m. meeting, the committee was recommending council direct them to further research a possible sale or merger of Guelph Hydro. At around 10:30 p.m., after hours of delegates and discussion, council decided that selling off Guelph Hydro, in part or in total, was not an option.”
Significantly, that news report also notes, “Guelph city council gave a nod to the five-member strategies and options committee to further examine the possibility of Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Company entering into a merger with another electricity distributor. When council voted on having the committee look deeper into a possible merger of Guelph Hydro with one or more local electricity distribution companies (LDCs), the words ‘publicly owned’ were added to the recommendation. If Guelph Hydro was to merge, it would only be with a publicly owned LDC.”
Chaloner tells us, “We helped block the privatization of Guelph Hydro on Wednesday night. Chapter activists Ron East, Donna Jennison and Paul Costello made presentations to the City Council session.”
Chaloner was also part of a campaign that successfully fought against a proposal to merge Guelph Hydro with Horizon Utilities Corp. in 2008.