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Liberal leader warns against hydro selloff

Ottawa Sun - November 9, 2002
by Derek Abma

The escalation of electricity prices in Ontario has prompted a lot people to offer Premier Ernie Eves advice on what not to do.

Yesterday, provincial Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty joined the chorus, warning Eves against selling off parts of Hydro One to buy his way out of the hydro mess.

"Ernie Eves may be poised to sell off Hydro One in a desperate bid to get cash so he can throw money at the electricity crisis he has created," said McGuinty, MPP for Ottawa South.

He said selling pieces of Ontario's electricity grid would only result in further "price gouging."

McGuinty was reacting to a report that SNC-Lavalin wants to buy part of Hydro One. The Montreal-based engineering company previously bought Hwy. 407, which runs through the Greater Toronto Area, for $4 billion.

The news comes as the province searches for ways to combat soaring hydro rates. That plan will be unveiled on Monday, when Eves and Energy Minister John Baird are expected to announce a supplement to the upcoming hydro bill rebates, which are estimated to be $52 per customer.

Meanwhile, in a letter to Eves, the Ontario Energy Association urges the premier to refrain from implementing price caps on electricity.

The group said capping prices would discourage private investment in the industry, which is needed to increase energy supply.

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