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Press Release

New poll says 8 in 10 Kingston residents oppose plan to privatize Hydro One

KINGSTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 29, 2015) - A poll, conducted by Environics Research, shows 8 in 10 Kingston residents oppose the Liberal government's plan to sell 60 percent of Hydro One, and may be taking their anger out on Liberal candidates in the federal election. The riding of Kingston and the Islands has reliably elected Liberals to federal office since 1988, but the poll shows the NDP are leading among decided voters.

"Selling off Hydro One is a provincial Liberal plan, but the federal Liberals may end up paying the price," said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, who commissioned the poll. "Both parties should be taking note that an overwhelming majority of voters in Kingston and across Ontario don't want critical public assets like Hydro One sold off."

The poll is being released in advance of a public meeting on the issue, which will take place at the INVISTA Centre, 1350 Gardiners Road, on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

The poll also shows that three quarters believe privatization will lead to increased electricity rates.

"Wherever this kind of hydro privatization has happened, it's driven up rates. That will hit everyone's pocketbook, and it will mean municipalities, schools and hospitals will be forced to cut front-line services to pay for rising hydro rates," said Hahn. "Skyrocketing hydro rates are bad for our communities and bad for our economy."

Hahn will joined at the public meeting by Kingscourt-Rideau Councillor Mary Rita Holland and community speakers.

The panel will point to clear evidence that privatizing hydro will lead to increased rates, less accountability and, ultimately, less government revenue for public infrastructure and programs, and will discuss the government's obligation to consult with First Nations.

Multiple studies and analysis in the U.S. and Canada conclude that private electricity costs more than public electricity.

Nine senior public accountability officers, including the auditor general, ombudsman and financial accountability officer, wrote the government stating that privatizing hydro would eliminate their authority to assess the 'value' and 'quality of service' the utility provides to the Ontario public.

Economic analysis from the former chief economist for TD Bank and Secretary of State (Finance) in the Chretien government, Dr. Douglas Peters, shows that selling 60 per cent of Hydro One will result in a net annual loss of $338 million to the province, even with the initial revenue from the sale, which he also cautioned would be less than the government is forecasting.

Environics Research conducted an interactive voice response (IVR) telephone poll of 563 residents of Kingston on July 13. The results were weighted by age and gender to reflect the demographic makeup of Kingston. The results of a survey of this magnitude have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Polling results available upon request.

Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications
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