NewsNow Niagara e-edition: August 16 2018  – View Interactive PDF

Proposed hydro re-alignment gives taxpayer short end of stick: reader

Dear Editor,

On Monday, during the dog days of summer, Grimsby’s finance committee quietly convened to take care of some issues that have been plaguing the Town.

First order of business is to further stack the deck of having more councillors on the six hydro boards.

This is the same council that allows a direct conflict of interest by having hydro directors pay themselves to work on multi-million-dollar projects, such as the bio-digester which I believe will be two years late and about $4 million over budget.

Then the next order of business was a $12.9 million reorganization to deal with the prior sale of Grimsby Power to Fortis.

What was cute was the deal is going to be backdated to Jan. 1, 2016 along with Motions of Council to deal with an error in the sales contract.

When is any legal document allowed to be backdated to re-write history?

Only Ald. Kadwell saw through this and questioned the other councillors who all sit on the boards of hydro. Kadwell is not on any boards.

What Council wants to do is clear the deck so that Fortis can have an easy shot at buying the rest of Grimsby Power without any discussion with taxpayers, the actual owners, and paves the way for a 25 per cent increase in our power bills – a proposal which is currently before the Ontario Energy Board.

Imagine, selling the power company without getting other buyers or bidders or an independent evaluation?

In speaking with former alderman Wayne Fertich, who was the only member of the public at the meeting, it was not surprising to hear the mayor would not answer Kadwell’s questions on how the $12.9 million valuation came up.

The projected outcome is this: hydro is worth about $40+ million, but will be sold for an undisclosed sum to Fortis for much less.

The Town gets the on-going liabilities of the non-operating assets of the $2 million Co-Gen and $5 million bio-digester with the $600,000 short-term loan it made to GEI last month lumped in…..and gives $4.4 million to Fortis for other considerations.

Confusing? Indeed.

Council being sneaky? Indeed.

Taxpayers + hydro customers getting screwed? INDEED.

Rob Hattin
Grimsby

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