In September, Mayor John Tory suggested privatizing publicly owned Toronto Hydro as a way to raise the money we desperately need to build and renew important public infrastructure. Every environmentalist should be alarmed by this development.
It makes no sense to give up control of Toronto Hydro just at the time our reliance on it increases because of climate change.
Most Torontonians are now realizing climate change is having a greater impact on our daily lives. But many don’t realize our publicly owned electrical distribution system will become increasingly important because of this impact.
As we move away from vehicles that burn fossil fuels to electric vehicles, Toronto Hydro will become the major distributor of the “fuel” (electricity) we need to move people and goods around our city.
Severe weather events, like the 2013 flood and ice storm, will put a bigger strain on our hydro infrastructure. We will increasingly rely on Toronto Hydro to keep the lights on after severe weather hits by quickly repairing downed wires. And we should expect Toronto Hydro to build a more resilient system that can weather the coming storms.
This summer’s heat and drought will soon become normal. That means air conditioning will be something we need instead of just keeping us comfortable. The power provided by Toronto Hydro will be crucial to surviving the heat, especially for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
So, it makes absolutely no sense to start privatizing any part of Toronto Hydro exactly at the time we need it more. We should not give up control of our public utility to private shareholders who must put their bottom line ahead of the needs of Torontonians. We should not sacrifice system reliability to maximize the profits of private shareholders. And we should not give up the power we have right now to keep Toronto Hydro accountable to Torontonians.
That’s why TEA has joined the www.ourhydro.ca
, a coalition of local community and labour groups. We all have different reasons for joining the coalition (environmental, keeping hydro bills affordable, reliability, accountability). But we all share a commitment to work together to ensure Toronto Hydro remains 100% owned by Torontonians.
The idea to sell off Toronto Hydro is not new. Over the last decade, many politicians have tried to sell this bad idea as a way of raising new revenues. But they have never succeeded because the facts don’t support them and because the majority of Torontonians and Councillors have realized it’s simply a bad idea. For example, a 2011 report notes that borrowing $108 million makes more sense financially for City Hall than selling 10% of Toronto Hydro.
Help us stop this bad idea. Let the Mayor and your City Councillor know you do not support privatizing our Toronto Hydro and jeopardizing our future.
Click here to send an email now.