Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

March 02, 2017 11:50 ET

Government's hydro bill reduction plan a cynical shell game, says CUPE Ontario president

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 2, 2017) - Electricity consumers deserve to know that they are being played by a scheme that will see them charged just as much over a longer period of time, CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn said today in reaction to Premier Kathleen Wynne's response to prolonged public outcry over rising hydro bills.

"This plan fails to address the root cause of these soaring hydro bills: privatization," Hahn said. "It is also deceptive. Taxpayers will be subsidizing their own bill reductions. Ontarians will pay just as much, but over a longer time frame. It's short term gain for long term pain. This shell game shouldn't really fool anybody," the CUPE Ontario President said this morning.

This scheme has been compared to amortizing a mortgage over a longer period of time. And just like a mortgage, this approach ultimately drives up the total cost of a home because lenders get to charge more.

By tinkering with private generation contracts in Ontario, the government has tacitly acknowledged that it's privatization of the province's electricity system that has driven bills so high. Private generation of power started under the Conservatives in the 1990's and has accelerated under the Liberals. Since privatization is the real driver of higher electricity costs, CUPE argues it is essential to stop the privatization of Hydro One before it's too late.

"Of course, Ontario families and businesses want hydro bills reduced," Hahn said, "but we need more than a cynical attempt to get re-elected. Ontario needs bold ideas that address the root cause of the problem, take the private profit margins off our bills, and bring back public ownership and control."

"Whether you're Liberal, Conservative or New Democrat, bringing Hydro fully back into public hands is what the people of Ontario want," said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. "It's the only permanent way to control prices, pure and simple. It's why our public hydro system was created in the first place – when it became clear that unfettered corporate greed was driving up the price of power."

CUPE Ontario has been opposing hydro privatization ever since the Conservative government under Mike Harris and Ernie Eves first raised the idea years ago. "Whichever party is in power, privatization of hydro is bad public policy," Hahn said.

CUPE is Ontario's community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

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