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Hydro One sale problematic: FAO, Smith

Hydro One workers replacing poles on East Lake Road.

Hydro One workers replacing poles on East Lake Road.

The Ontario Liberals are moving to sell off 60 per cent of Hydro One despite a damning report that said the sale could cost the province $300 to $500 million a year.

“This is the worst deal in the province’s history,” said Todd Smith, PC Hydro One critic and Prince Edward Hastings MPP following the release of the Financial Accountability Officer’s (FAO) report.

Financial Accountability Officer Stephen LeClair’s inaugural 41-page report outlines several problems with the sale including how much money would be raised, the sale’s long-term impact and the lack of transparency around the report itself.

Smith said there are six key questions in the FAO report that he couldn’t answer because the government refused to hand over the information.

“This morning, the Financial Accountability Officer told us that the Hydro One Sale could net as little as $1.4 billion in new money for infrastructure for the province. That’s less than half of what the government is claiming,” said Smith. “The closer you get to this deal, the more you find that ratepayers and taxpayers in the province only stand to lose if it goes through.”

Wynne’s Liberal government plans to sell 60 per cent of the utility. The report notes that in the short term, the sell-off will make it easier for Ontario to balance its budget by its planned deadline of 2017/18, but the report states lost revenues will hurt the bottom line over the longer term.

“In years following the sale of 60 per cent of Hydro One, the province’s budget balance would be worse than it would have been without the sale. The province’s net debt would initially be reduced, but will eventually be higher than it would have been without the sale,” the report states.

“This is a deal that’s going to make it harder for the province to actually balance its books. It’s that simple,” said Smith. “This government clearly didn’t think things through when it decided to sell Hydro One and now it’s becoming clear that they won’t get the money they expect out of it and they’re content to stick taxpayers with the bill.”

LeClair also said costs of the sale are greater than what the government would have spent on interest payments if it borrowed the money.

The FAO estimates the market value of Hydro One to be $11–$14.3 billion.

The Liberals have promised to balance their budget by the end of March 2018 — the same year as the next provincial election.

Since the announcement, municipalities, – including Prince Edward County – and other public and stakeholder groups have called for the cancellation of the sale.

Click here for the full FAO report

 

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  1. Marc says:

    Intersting that the Conservatives are only against selling Hydro One if they’re not the ones doing it. Our previous Conservative government planned to do it but never quite go around to it.

  2. judy kennedy says:

    the sale is a giant mistake that we will all pay for in the future
    but I think these ideas come more from the unelected drones than the elected

  3. Fred says:

    Well of course. That’s why I only mentioned those points.

  4. Michael Reagan says:

    @Fred

    How about we only hold against people the things that they actually could have controlled, regardless of partisan affiliation?

    That strikes me as a reasonable standard.

  5. Fred says:

    So Conservative privatization,deregulation and amalgamations are to be forgotten. Before we do that, how did all that work out?

  6. Michael Reagan says:

    @ Anon,

    Hey, remember that thing that happened 15 years ago and is, in no way, relevant to what’s currently going on at Queen’s Park?

    It might help us all to deal with things that have at least taken place in the last decade.

    Given that only like 5 of the 27 PC MPPs currently at Queen’s Park were even MPPs when Mike Harris was Premier, it might be construed as a stretch to blame the vast majority of that Party for policies it had no say over.

  7. Anon says:

    Agreed that the sale of Hydro One has to be stopped, but who remembers a previous Conservative government that wanted to sell off all of what then called Ontario Hydro?

  8. Rosemary Smith says:

    How can the government unilaterally sell off a publically owned asset of this magnitude and receive so little in return? The mind boggles at the fiscal ineptitude of the Ontario Liberals. This sale has to be stopped.

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