Sudbury

Hydro One sell-off has Sudbury citizens concerned

It seems there's growing concern in Sudbury and across the province over the continued sale of shares in Hydro One.

Coalition organizes Sudbury meeting to address fears about the privatization of the utility

Former Toronto MPP Rosario Marchese spoke to a group of concerned Sudburians about the privatization of Hydro One. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

It seems there's growing concern in Sudbury and across the province over the continued sale of shares in Hydro One.

The province is still moving forward with the sell-off of part of the publicly-owned utility, despite fears that privatization will make bills skyrocket.

About 50 people — many of them on pensions or a fixed income — attended a meeting in Sudbury last night organized by the Citizens Coalition Against Privatization (CCAP).

They oppose plans by the provincial Liberals to sell off 60 per cent of Hydro One.

A groundswell of support across Ontario is helping the coalition's cause, said former Toronto MPP Rosario Marchese, who chairs the coalition.

"They've sold 30 per cent. We can still stop them from selling the other 30 per cent," Marchese said. "It's not a done deal until it's over. If we continue to put pressure on Liberal MPPs, they will put pressure on Kathleen Wynne to stop the sale of Hydro One."

'One of us alone could not keep the house' 

Heidi Ralph, who attended the meeting Wednesday night, said she wasn't aware of the sale of 30 per cent of the shares in the utility so far. 

She first began looking into the issue when her hydro bill went up.

"My husband and I are retired," Ralph said. "We live on sort of the minimum pension that you can get. Between the two of us we can still afford the bill, but one of us alone could not keep the house. There is no way."

Climbing rates are pushing more people to join the cause of the CCAP, said Kathy Whipple, leader of the Sudbury chapter.

"The majority of Sudbury, they can't afford higher bills," Whipple said. "People are now choosing between paying their hydro and rent and putting food on the table for their children. People that have never had to access the food bank before, they are going to access it now."

Whipple said she thinks the privatization of Hydro One could be stopped if more people voice their concerns to the Liberal government about the sale.

With files from Angela Gemmill. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges

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