TORONTO – Ontarians who oppose the privatization of Hydro One outnumber supporters of the idea by a three-to-one margin, a new public opinion poll says.
The poll of 1,000 Ontario residents by StratCom Communications found that 63 per cent of respondents oppose the Liberal government’s plan to sell shares in the provincial electricity transmission system. Fewer than 20 per cent of Ontarians support the move, the poll found. (Seventeen per cent were neither for nor against, or had no opinion.)
“The people of Ontario don’t want to lose control of their electricity system,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which commissioned the poll. “They expect hydro rates to go up under privatization. They know the province will lose revenue if it sells Hydro One. They know they will see poorer service and less oversight when private investors are calling the shots.”
Public dislike of the privatization plan is growing as more people learn about it, the poll also found. Opposition has jumped six points since a similar poll taken by StratCom in February 2015.
“This is one of those terrible policies that just hits the wrong note with people,” Thomas said. “The more they know about it, the less they like it.”
The government of Premier Kathleen Wynne has no mandate from voters to sell off any part of Hydro One, he added.
“You can ask anyone in this province if they remember the Liberals saying in the last election campaign that they were going to privatize Hydro One,” Thomas said. “You won’t find anyone who says ‘yes.’”
The StratCom poll was taken from April 21 to 24 and is considered accurate within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Full poll results are available here.