By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa residents, and others across the province, have been overpaying for hydro for years – and that has Gord Vickers angry.
“I think it is absolutely ridiculous,” Vickers, one of the members of the Public Hydro Coalition, a group working to prevent the public sale of Hydro One, tells The Oshawa Express. “It shows you how far removed governments are. It’s so frustrating when you read these kind of reports.”
The report Vickers is referring to is the annual document released by Bonnie Lysyk, the province’s auditor general. One part of the report found Ontario residents paid $37 billion too much for hydro over the past eight years. The report also finds that Ontario residents will overspend an additional $133 billion by 2032 due to global adjustment fees.
“It’s wasted money of the taxpayers. Really, what it amounts to is we overpaid for something that we own, and they got away with it,” Vickers says.
The first 15 per cent of Hydro One went on sale to the general public in mid-November, garnering the provincial government $1.83 billion. Premier Kathleen Wynne has previously announced the money gained from the sale – the province plans on selling 60 per cent of Hydro One – will be used to pay down debt and pay for infrastructure projects.
“It’s just been a dog’s breakfast from day one on this hydro issue,” Vickers says.
Andrea Horwath, the leader of the provincial NDP party, shares his sentiment.
“The Liberals have made a mess of our electricity system. There’s no doubt about it,” Horwath tells The Oshawa Express. “And they’ve been driving it into the ground, and instead of trying to fix it, they’re waving the white flag, saying they can’t do it anymore.”
In light of the first round of sales of Hydro One and the auditor general’s report, Vickers says the Public Hydro Coalition is going to be “stepping it up.”
“The public doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on about their hydro. And that’s our job, in Oshawa especially,” Vickers says. “Our objective is to make sure the Liberals never get elected again if they carry through with this.”