Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

July 20, 2017 15:54 ET

Hydro One's purchase of U.S. utility puts empire building ahead of Ontario rate payers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 20, 2017) - Hydro One's purchase of U.S. gas and electricity utility, Avista, saddles the company with $6 billion in new debt that puts Ontario rate payers at risk of further rate increases, says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.

"If you needed proof that privatizing Hydro One is bad for the people of Ontario, this is it," said Hahn. "Under public control the company's mandate was to deliver reliable and affordable power to Ontarians. Now it's a private, predatory company focused on profits and building a private multi-national electricity empire."

"And they're taking on billions in debt that the people of Ontario will have to cover if their gamble doesn't pay-off," Hahn said. "This is not good for Ontario and now it's not good for the people of Oregon, Washington and Alaska."

Hydro One borrowed $3.4 billion to finance the purchase of Avista that also includes taking on the company's $2.3 billion in US based debt.

Since private interests took over majority control of Hydro One this spring, the company has already applied for and been granted a rate increase and is now gobbling up local public utilities across Ontario and now in other countries.

"Our grandparents bought and paid for Ontario's hydro system to make sure our province could always count on reliable and affordable power for our home, our industries and our small businesses," said Hahn. "And now Ontario Energy Minister Glen Thibeault has the audacity to try and spin this as a positive and intended consequence of his government's privatization plan - it's Orwellian."

Ontario's largest trade union, CUPE is also a member of the Keep Hydro Public Coalition and is currently pursuing a misfeasance suit against the Ontario government over the privatization of Hydro One.

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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