Hydro One History

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Updated 07/10/18

In the Province of Ontario until 1999 electricity was a public utility owned by the Provincial Government.  It was called Ontario Hydro.  In 1999 it was broken up into several pieces.  This link describes the ownership.

If you are reading Ontario sourced articles about this stuff, just to make it confusing, in common usage HYDRO is used interchangeably with ELECTRICITY.  Eh?  So Hydro usually does not refer to Hydro One.

Ontario Power Generation, OPG, owns and operates most of the generating facilities.  It is still owned by Ontario.

Hydro One owns and operates transmission lines and some distribution direct to customers.  They purchase power from OPG and real private (not government owned) generating companies and deliver it.

Electric rates for the Province of Ontario are set by the Ontario Energy Board.  HYDRO ONE passes through costs paid for generation and has nothing to do with setting rates beyond requesting and justifying rates for their transmission and distribution.

The high electricity rates in Ontario are the result of political decisions by the Provincial Government to get rid of coal fired generation and make long term uneconomic contracts for wind generated power.

The Province of Ontario is BROKE!  It is home to 13.5 Million people.  It is C$325 Billion in debt.  C$22,500 for every man woman and child.   For perspective, California, home to 39.5 Million has a debt of US $153 Billion and we think that is a big problem.

HYDRO ONE was partially privatized to raise CASH !  Their long term mission is to raise more CASH !  How?  Probably not by collecting utility bills, but who knows.  Can they break up Avista into Generating, Transmission, Distribution and Gas companies and sell the parts?  That would be following the Ontario model, and our model of the ’90’s when many utilities in this country sold off their generating capacity, leading to the ENRON disaster.

Until 2015 HYDRO ONE was wholly owned by the Province of Ontario.  After a few stock sales on the Toronto Stock Exchange, (TSX symbol H), and gifting some to First Nations, Ontario now owns about 47% of the company.  Ontario may sell more of HYDRO ONE but will retain at least 40%.

The sale was structured so that the Province of Ontario would maintain control of Hydro One.  No other stock holder is allowed to own more than 9.9% of the stock.

Here is the  Premier of Ontario, dumped June 7, 2018, explaining the plan.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijwo2N5FWnE&t=3s