Hydro

Hydro One: Expanding the public sector to privatize it

By Dave McKee, CPC (Ontario) leader Great Lakes Power Transmission in Sault St. Marie, Orillia Power Distributing Corporation, Peterborough Distribution Inc., Wellington North Power in Mount Forest, Haldimand County Utilities, Guelph Hydro, Toronto Hydro. Over the past three years Hydro One, Ontario’s largest publicly owned electricity transmission and distribution utility, has moved to purchase a wide swath of local utilities, most of them publicly owned. On the surface, it sounds okay – Hydro One’s public argument has been that the mergers make the public electricity system more efficient and effective, yielding lower costs and greater reliability. Public-to-public takeovers are a win-win deal for everyone, right? Not so fast. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Mass action can halt Hydro privatization!

The privatization of Hydro One has begun. In the first week of November, the first public offering of Hydro stocks resulted in the sale of about 10% of the public utility, generating great excitement on the TSX where the RBC Capital Markets and ScotiaBank led the pack in scooping up the largest parts of this and future offerings. The Hydro One firesale is an out and out gift to the banks and corporations, in exchange for some quick money to fund the government’s unfunded $30 billion infrastructure program – one of two key promises that won them the June 2014 Ontario election. The government says the main objective of the sale is funding for the infrastructure program. But only $4.6 billion will be realized by the sale – less than one-sixth of what’s needed – and at a huge cost to the public. Instead, this $30 billion could be generated by reversing an estimated $15 billion in corporate tax cuts and by increasing the corporate tax rate to 22% for an additional $10.5 billion annually. That would raise the funds for the infrastructure program, and maintain Hydro One as a public utility. It would also generate a much larger, and stable revenue stream for other public projects, like public hospitals, the long promised (but never delivered) needs-based funding formula for education, or a provincial system of affordable public childcare, urban and inter-urban public transit. (more…)

By admin, ago
Austerity

Ontario Communists announce campaign against Hydro privatization

In response to the Ontario Government's plan to sell 60% of Hydro One, the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) has announced a campaign to inform and energize the public against the privatization scheme. The Liberals intend to sell Hydro One, the distribution network of Ontario’s public electric power system, to private companies, despite growing opposition within the Ontario legislature and in the population at large. The proposal was part of the omnibus budget bill that passed the legislature on the last day before the summer recess. Part of the budget removed most of the regulatory measures which governed Hydro One as a public utility. The Government’s excuse for selling off one of the most important public assets owned by the people of Ontario was to provide capital to finance its $30 billion public infrastructure project, the key proposal in its election campaign. It did not campaign on privatizing Ontario Hydro, however. This privatization plan, the continuation of the corporate austerity campaign, has many aspects that attack the living standard and the democratic rights of the people of Ontario: (more…)

By admin, ago