According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO), an arms-length body created by provincial legislation to keep an eye on provincial finances, Ontario lost $1.8 billion by selling Hydro One instead of refinancing it.
The sale, proposed back in the 2015 budget and finalized this last December, saw Ontario sell off 53 per cent of its shares in Hydro One.
According to the FAO, the sale raised $9.2 billion for the province. The FAO put together an alternative scenario where the province instead issued debt as it usually does to raise money. The proceeds from keeping the shares in Hydro One the province elected to sell would’ve saved $1.8 billion. By 2028, the province will have more debt than it would’ve otherwise because of the sale.
The move was loudly contested as soon as it was announced, with many concerned that selling off the province’s electricity generator could mean even higher prices for consumers. A government poll at the time found that 73 per cent of Ontarians thought Hydro One should be owned by the province, and 58 per cent of Ontarians opposed the sale of Hydro One, with 62 saying it would push hydro bills up.