More on Orillia Power vs Hydro One

From the looks of it, the City of Orillia council isn't going to let this rest without a fight. Earlier I
wrote about the sale of the Orillia Power Distribution division to Hydro One, and the OEB's decision to nix it, but that doesn't seem to have been the end of it. At least not from the city's point of view.

They are planning an appeal, but are also finally letting the citizen's of Orillia have a say, so if you have a strong opinion, the public meeting is scheduled for May 17th, between 7 and 9 pm at the Council Chambers. They're calling this sale a "community investment", but I'm not convinced it will be an investment at all.

I see it as a detriment to the citizens. Yes, there might be some benefit over the long haul, but I think more likely there will be more harm done than betterment.

All you have to do is look at Hydro One's history ... and how much they've cost the citizens of Ontario in debt repayment. At this point, the crown only holds just over 47% of the shares in Ontario Hydro, with the balance having been sold off (see: Hydro One - Wiki).  Why would I trust the Ontario government, or Hydro One?

 Orillia Power, on the other hand has a proven record.

See that first statement in the image? Yep, Orillia Power is one of the most reliable distribution systems in the province, with low outages and fast response time. Geeze, why would we want any less than what we've already got?

The city's upcoming meeting includes things like how much (money? value?) Hydro is going to bring to Orillia by purchasing land to build on (see Orillia Matters article); how many jobs they'll bring to the area (yeah, probably bringing their employees with them causing an even bigger affordable housing shortage than we already have here); and other "wonderful" things that will happen in Orillia ... or should I say "that will supposedly happen".

Some of the things that struck me:
"Orillia Power Distribution sold: $26.4 million cash purchase."
That's nice but in the 2015 published financial report for Orillia Power, they state that OP has paid $39.2 million directly to shareholder (the only shareholder in Orillia Power is the City of Orillia).  Although Orillia would still retain the power generation portion, separating the generation from the distribution portion of the business could reduce that in future. I think it's never a good idea to sell off something that works, and works well. $26.4 million looks pretty good, but it's a one-time payment, rather than ongoing investment in Orillia.
"Horne Business Park land sale: Hydro One has purchased 16.41 acres of the land required for the ISOC portion of the development for approximately $3 million – validated as fair market value by a thirdparty valuator."
Why should this have any bearing on the "deal". Either they want and need the land (outside of the deal) or they don't. Bringing a realty purchase into this shouldn't even be a factor. In fact, this sale of land was not supposed to have had any bearing on the sale of the distribution corp, so I'm not sure why it would even be brought up.
"As noted in the public consultation, the short-term economic impact of the construction of the buildings and related activity is anticipated to inject $200 to $300 million into the Orillia economy. Once all the facilities are operational, significant new dollars in payroll/incomes and property taxes will be injected into the Orillia economy year after year."
Another "why does this even need to be brought up". After all, if Hydro One builds here regardless of the success of them acquiring Orillia Power Distribution Corp, it wouldn't matter whether they buy us out or not ... they'd still be building there and it would still generate money in our economy, and still provide short term/temporary jobs to the construction industry. It shouldn't even be part of the discussion.

Yes, I can see there are benefits. But involving ourselves with Ontario Hydro in any way is still exceedingly distasteful. I trust Orillia Power, and they've always, always, always been fair in terms of cost and service. I have zero trust in Ontario Hydro, their power fees are far outside of what's realistic for most people and I doubt that their distribution costs will be fair in the long term either.

I also wonder, because of Hydro One's history of enormous debt, whether or not they actually have the funding to make the purchase, or whether they plan to add it onto the backs of Ontario citizens ... oh yeah Orillia, that's us too just in case you were wondering.

Where exactly are all these millions to pay for this deal coming from? The people of Ontario?  Probably. And I won't support that.

What I support is Orillia Power - both the generation and distribution portion still being in the hands of Orillia, and here's why.

Really ... do we need any more convincing that Orillia Power and it's distribution corp. should be kept and not sold?