Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Privatizing Hydro-Québec

Hydro-Québec is a crown corporation and the largest producer of hydro-electric power in the world. Worth $130B, its revenue in 2007 was over $12B, of which $2B went as a dividend to Quebec City. It provides Québec with the world's cheapest hydro rates.

The Montreal Economic Institute is a neoliberal think tank devoted to disbanding the wheat board and privatizing water, healthcare, and now apparently Hydro-Québec.

Yesterday the MEI released its report plumping for the privatization of Hydro-Québec.
Author Claude Garcia explained that while privatization would mean higher rates for Quebec consumers, they would gain the advantage of choosing their service provider and could be given shares in the new company. And why not sell power at 9.6 cents per kilowatt-hour to energy-thirsty consumers in Boston or New York, rather than at the current rate of 3 cents charged to Quebec's aluminum smelters?

Here's how that report was dutifully replayed in the media yesterday :

G&M : Report calls for sale of Hydro- Québec
"Hydro-Québec is racked by wretched inefficiency and would be better off to Quebec being privatized according to a new study commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute."

CTV : Hydro-Quebec would be more effective if privatized, study finds
"A new study suggests Hydro-Quebec is racked by inefficiency and would be more valuable to the province if it were privatized."

CJAD : Sell off Hydro-Quebec, make an extra 10 billion a year. .
Bloomberg : Quebec Should Sell Hydro-Quebec, Globe Says, Citing Study .
Trading Markets : Privatizing Hydro-Québec would give $10 billion more a year to Quebecers .
Montreal Gazette : Our cheap power comes at a price .

OK, help me out here. If selling excess energy to the US is the goal, why not do it while retaining Hydro-Québec as a crown corporation for the longterm benefit of Quebec?
Could someone please explain that to me?


Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to, Alison.
If Quebec-Hydro isn't privatized, then none of the corporations that enjoy the confidence of the newspapers you quote will make a buck off it.


Oemissions said...


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