Ontario takes next step to sell Hydro One, filing preliminary prospectus

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TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government has taken the next step towards selling Hydro One, filing a prospectus for an initial public offering in the huge electricity transmission utility.

A preliminary prospectus was filed with the Ontario Securities Commission and its counterparts across the country, which provides a detailed overview of Hydro One, including its operations, its outlook and its $22.6 billion in total assets.

The government hopes to raise $9 billion from a sale of 60 per cent of Hydro One, which owns the province’s transmission grid and also serves as a local electricity distributor for 1.4 million customers, mostly in rural and northern Ontario.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne says the Liberals need money from the sale to help fund a 10-year, $130-billion program for public transit and infrastructure, although she promises to use $5 billion of the revenue to pay down hydro debt.

Both Ontario’s opposition parties oppose the privatization of Hydro One and warn it will send already high electricity rates even higher and turn a public utility into a private enterprise.

The eight independent officers of the Ontario legislature — including the auditor general and ombudsman — banded together to condemn the Hydro One sale, warning it will shield the company from public scrutiny.

Wynne claims by holding on to 40 per cent of Hydro One and limiting other buyers to a maximum of 10 per cent, the province will retain control of the company and its board.

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The Canadian Press

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