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WIN! Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter celebrates local utility not being sold to Hydro One

Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter activist Roy Brady and CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn.

The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter has been campaigning against 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 since February 2016.

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 2016 found that 93 per cent of Peterborough residents opposed the sale of PDI. Despite that, Peterborough city council still voted in December 2016 to sell the utility. At that time, Brady said that the chapter would continue to oppose the sale.

Now, Global News reports, “Hydro One has withdrawn from negotiations regarding the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. John Stephenson, president and chief executive officer of Peterborough Utilities Group, says Hydro One walked away from talks this week. In a statement, Hydro One said ‘both parties were unable to reach a final agreement’. Stephenson wouldn’t elaborate on the stumbling blocks in talks but said it wasn’t over the price.”

That article adds, “Town Ward councillor Diane Therrien was one of five councillors opposed to the sale [says] ‘This deal has cost us thousands of dollars and irreparable damage to our relationship with the citizens of this community who did not want the city to sell their public utilities. And we now find out the deal has fallen through. We deserve to know that happened. We deserve answers.'”

Our ally CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn says, “The people of Peterborough were strongly against selling off PDI because they knew the negative affects of the sale would have been felt for generations to come. Now Peterborough will retain full control over their hydro system and the city will continue to be able to generate critical ongoing revenue that’s needed to fund local services.”

Hahn adds, “Because of the pressure from the people of Peterborough, Hydro One was forced to include promises to sweeten the PDI deal. And I bet that when they ran the numbers Hydro One realized their profits were at risk and they bailed.”

Congratulations to the Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter which was a key actor in applying that community pressure.

To read thirteen blogs that trace the campaign by the chapter and its allies against the sale, please click here.