Keep Hydro Public

Keep Hydro Public

June 07, 2017 15:46 ET

Hydro One rate increase just the beginning thanks to privatization scheme

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 7, 2017) - Hydro One's proposed rate increase is just the tip of the iceberg now that profit-driven shareholders own the majority of Ontario's electricity transmission system, says Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario and one of the leading activist in the fight to bring the province's electricity back under public control.

"Our government has tried to pretend that selling the majority ownership of Hydro One wouldn't affect rates, but we all knew that if our utility was sold to private interests, rates would go up," said Hahn. "It's been less than a month since the ink dried on the sale of the last shares and Hydro One is already making an application for a rate increase."

"I wish I could say this comes as a surprise," said Doly Begum, the campaign coordinator for the Keep Hydro Public Coalition. "We warned the government this is exactly what would happen if they followed through with their scheme to sell-off our hydro system. The only way to put this genie back in the bottle is to buy back control of Hydro One."

Yesterday, Hydro One applied to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to increase distribution rates from 2018 until 2022, suggesting the increase is needed to repair aging infrastructure. Rates would go up an average of $2.35 a month, per year for each of the next five years, which is an increase of about 3%.

"The government has tried to hide behind the Ontario Energy Board, suggesting it will protect people from unnecessary rate increases. Up until now, the OEB has been nothing more than a rubber stamp for raising rates," said Begum. "Does anyone really expect anything different going forward?"

"Of course the new shareholders want rate increases to cover the system repair costs, otherwise those costs would eat into their profits," says Hahn. "When it comes to essential public services, profit should not be part of the equation."

Contact Information