Liberal government refuses to say how much Hydro One privatization will cost Ontario ratepayers

Queen’s Park – The Liberal government is refusing to say what impact the Premier’s hydro privatization plans will have on Ontario ratepayers. Last week Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath asked the Premier point blank, to “provide any guarantees that hydro rates will not go up as part of the Liberal plan to privatize Hydro One and local utilities.” The Premier could not, or would not, provide any assurances.

“Every time Liberals and Conservatives privatize part of our hydro system, Ontarians end up paying more,” said Horwath. “Today Ontarians pay some of the highest bills in the country, and the Liberals are planning even more privatization. I asked the Premier what her plan means for ratepayers, and whether the Premier would guarantee her privatization scheme wouldn’t mean more rate hikes.” 

Hydro rates in Ontario have more than tripled since Liberal and Conservative governments began to privatize Ontario’s hydro system. According to the Ontario Energy Board, rates have gone from 4.3 cents/kWh in 2002 to 14 cents/kWh today. According to Manitoba Hydro’s national comparison, Ontarians pay the highest hydro bills in the country.

Throwing light on why the Liberals refuse to provide any guarantees, Ontario’s Energy Minister acknowledged that if the Liberals privatize even a minority of Hydro One, decisions may no longer be in the hands of the public. Minister Chiarelli appeared on CP24 on March 26, 2015 discussing Hydro One. Stephen LeDrew asked the Energy Minister whether the “taxpayers and government would… call the shots and make the decisions on hydro?” The Energy Minister said only it would depend on how much of Hydro One the Liberals sell.

“The Energy Minister is going on TV telling Ontarians he has no plan for who will call the shots at Hydro One,” said Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns, (MPP Toronto-Danforth). “The government needs to send a message that Hydro One should be working for Ontario ratepayers, not the other way around.”