Ontario cancels sale of Hydro One stake

21 January 2003 - Ontario has cancelled plans to sell a minority interest in Hydro One, the government-owned power grid, signalling the end of the provinces plans to introduce electricity deregulation.

A court decision last year blocked plans to sell the entire transmission operation in what would have been Canada's biggest initial public offering. The government has said that it had sought a partner for the 49 per cent stake but that it was not prepared to relinquish control over key decisions affecting consumers.

"We want to bring private-sector discipline to Hydro One, but not at the expense of protecting consumers," Eves said in the statement. "Last November I announced a plan to lower your hydro (electricity) bill and we are sticking to that plan."

Ontario's government announced in November it would freeze electricity prices and hand cash back to angry consumers whose costs had soared during five months of highly unpopular deregulation � a policy devised and implemented by Eves's predecessor, Mike Harris.

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