bissonAfter Ontario’s new financial accountability officer’s report on Hydro One, the message is clear from the opposition, “do the math.”

Timmins-James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson points out that after two years of the sale, the province actually loses money.

Hydro One turns over about $750 million a year to the province, which will be reduced as private owners take their share of the profits.

Stephen LeClair’s first report to the legislature finds the province would see an improvement in its budget in the first year after an initial sale of 15 per cent of shares in the utility.

But he says the budgetary impact could be positive or negative in subsequent years as more shares are sold, and will ultimately be negative once the Liberals sell the 60 per cent of Hydro One they plan to put on market.

Bisson says since Confederation in 1867, governments either paid for infrastructure with money they have, or they borrowed.

“Alberta’s doing it right now, the federal government’s going to be doing it, other governments in the past have done it, that’s just the way you pay for infrastructure, it’s like buying a house,” Bisson said.

“Who has the cash to buy a house?  You borrow the money and you pay the mortgage.”

LeClair estimates the total value of Hydro One at between $11-billion and $14.3 billion, and says based on that a 60 per cent sale would generate $6.8 billion to $8.9 billion, “a wider and somewhat lower range” than the government’s estimates.

But the financial accountability officer says he can’t tell how the government came up with its valuations for Hydro One because the Liberals won’t tell him their methodology.

Without knowing how they made their calculations, LeClair says “it is not possible” for him to offer a definitive opinion on whether the partial sale will help the government eliminate a $10.3 billion deficit by 2017-18 as promised or not.

But Premier Kathleen Wynne says she needs to sell 60 per cent of the utility to raise money for public transit and infrastructure projects.

Wynne says she’s convinced the long-term benefits will outweigh the loss of revenue from the utility.