Society of Energy Professionals

Society of Energy Professionals

March 07, 2010 16:11 ET

Energy Professionals: Utilities not cash cows

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 7, 2010) - The McGuinty government is losing sight of the role electricity can play in Ontario's economy, says a leader of Ontario's professional employees.

"Our public utilities aren't corporate playthings or cash cows, and the electricity system shouldn't be a source for short-term cash," said Rod Sheppard, President of the Society of Energy Professionals. "I'd like to see these utilities 'unleashed,' all right, so they can produce and distribute affordable, reliable, clean electricity for tomorrow's greener economy."

"Selling shares in Ontario Power Generation or Hydro One will indeed give the economy a jolt, but it'll be a pretty unpleasant shock to our electricity rates."

Sheppard's comments were in anticipation of announcements expected in Monday's Speech from the Throne in the Ontario legislature. The media have reported that the Premier will announce a "five-year plan" that may include combining public assets such as OPG and Hydro One into a "super corporation," then selling a minority stake. Liberal "insiders" apparently think the gambit will "maximize the value" of these assets, and give the economy a "jolt." They refer to it as "unleashing" our public assets.

Sheppard says while the cash might serve the Premier's short-term needs, further privatization of electricity can only add to the upward pressure on electricity prices. He says the leash that really concerns him is the one on publicly-owned OPG that prevents it from competing in the production of the new, renewable forms of electricity.

"Frankly, I think we've had enough economic jolts in the last couple of years," said Sheppard. "The economy would be a lot better off with some stability in the electricity system."

Sheppard says prices in the electricity system are already dangerously exposed to the price of natural gas, and the Premier is lucky that price is temporarily low. "When natural gas goes back up again, and it will, the Premier may find himself a pretty unpopular guy."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents more than 7,800 professional employees-engineers, scientists, middle management, information technology specialists, etc. in Ontario's electricity sector. The Society supports the government's conservation and renewable-power goals, and believes the Ontario's economy and public needs affordable, reliable, and secure electricity. The Society of Energy Professionals is Local 160 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers.
/For further information: please contact Brian Robinson at (416) 716-6438/ IN: ENERGY, LABOUR, TELECOMM

Contact Information

  • Brian Robinson, Communications Officer, Society of Energy Professionals
    Primary Phone: 416-716-6438