Making fools of us again

Former premier Dalton McGuinty wanted to turn Ontario into a “green” energy province.
He chose to close down coal-fired power plants and replace those electrical energy-producing operations with solar- and wind-powered energy. He turned the development of wind and solar energy to private enterprise.
We know where that has taken us. Today, every Ontario household is subsidizing those plants—and energy bills have soared.
The government might have chosen to operate those new sources of energy as they have operated dams and power-generating stations for more than a century.
Today, the Wynne government is looking to sell 10-15 percent of Hydro One to private investors. Her promises to Toronto and other cities for infrastructure, highways, and transit will be paid for by the proceeds of the sale.
She has committed almost $29 billion for transportation and infrastructure over the next decade. Selling 10-15 percent of Hydro One would generate between $2 and $3 billion.
Hydro One operates the distribution network that transmits electricity created by Ontario Power Generation. It is a prized asset of the province.
The idea of selling off Hydro One first was raised by former premier Mike Harris but it proved too objectionable to the public. Dalton McGuinty toyed with the idea while premier. It, too, failed to gain traction.
One has to ask, “Where will Premier Wynne find the money next year, or the year after?”
Hydro One, even though consultants have said it is poorly-run, generates more than $1 billion that goes into the coffers of the Ontario government. It is a nice tidy sum that comes year after year.
It is the proverbial goose that keeps laying the golden egg.
Whoever buys it will look for a quick return on investment. And in order to achieve those higher rates of return, energy rates likely will be hiked.
Back in 1992, Nova Scotia sold the Nova Scotia Power Corp., which became known as Emera Inc. in 2000. The company has grown and expanded into the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Today, Nova Scotians pay among the highest rates for power in North America. Ontarians already pay the third-highest rate for power in Canada.
If the province was to sell even a portion of Hydro One, Ontario taxpayers will lose again.
The sleight of hand is being played out today. The debt retirement charge of $5.60 a month is being eliminated and some rebates are being offered to low-income families.
On average, however, most Ontario households will pay an average of $137 more per year.
Ontario today produces more power than it can use. But instead of giving breaks to industry and homeowners, the province discounts the power to rates below Ontario rates and ships it to industries south of the border so they can compete against Ontario businesses.
It’s April Fool’s Day and it appears the Wynne government is trying to make fools of us again.

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