Peterborough’s new council makes no move to scrap PDI sale to Hydro One

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New council won't scrap sale of PDI to Hydro One after all – Jan 21, 2019

Although several councillors campaigned on a promise saying they would scrap the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc., to Hydro One, it appears that fight is over.

After Monday night’s general committee meeting saw a report and update on the state of the sale, not one councillor or the mayor pushed for a motion to kill the deal.

READ MORE: Peterborough council to get update regarding PDI sale to Hydro One

“I didn’t vote, for example in favour of the site plans for the casino, but it’s there now and we make the best of it,” said Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien, who previously voted against the sale of the PDI, the city-owned electrical distribution arm of Peterborough Utilities.

“I spoke out against the deal when it was happening but you have to recognize that sometimes things don’t always go your way and you still have to make the best of the situation and use those funds in the best possible way for the community.”

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Council and city staff met for an hour-long closed-door meeting prior to Monday night’s general committee session and when all sides emerged there was no talk to about the cost or possible litigation that might come from backing away from the sale.

It was back in December, at the first council meeting following the election, where Ashburnham councillor Keith Riel made a motion to request a report from staff to update council on where the deal stood between the city and Hydro One and what the cost would be to scrap the deal if council decided to do so.

But Riel said nothing during Monday night’s meeting about PDI, this despite Peterborough Utilities president and CEO John Stephenson being in attendance and taking some questions.

READ MORE: PDI sold to Hydro One for $105 million

Councillor Stephen Wright, who campaigned against the sale, and councillor Gary Baldwin were the only ones to publicly ask Stephenson about the sale.

“The report that we are seeing here in public really only advocates for the sale of PDI,” said Baldwin. “But are there any benefits to keeping PDI?”

“There are pros and cons to keeping it as we examined it and there are pros and cons to the path we are proposing,” said Stephenson, who also told council the dividends or profits PDI was paying back to the city were shrinking.

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Five years ago Stephenson said the chunk of profits coming back to the city was around $1.1 million, whereas today the profits have shrunk to somewhere around $700,000 and he says the electrical supply business is a changing landscape.

READ MORE: Sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. to Hydro One resumes as both sides agree to further discussions

According to city CAO Sandra Clancy’s report, the city and Peterborough Utilities’ board have sunk more than $3.4 million into negotiating the sale of PDI to Hydro One and all the sides are working together to get the sale completed.

At this point, the application for sale is before the Ontario Energy Board who have last say of approval and it’s expected a decision by the OEB will come sometime early in the fall of 2019.

Hydro One has agreed to buy PDI from the city for $105 million, and once the city pays off the debt it owes, it’s expected the sale will net close $55 million, which the city plans to invest.

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