Hydro-Quebec is trying to reassure jittery investors that Hydro bonds are still a good, solid investment.

Helen Mayer, a spokeswoman for the utility, played down a recent decision by yet another American college to sell off its Hydro bonds.

Williams College, based in Massachusetts, dumped $1.5 million U.S. because portfolio managers said they were worried about their investment. Williams College Treasurer and Vice President for Administration David Heally stated in a letter that this wasn’t a policy change on the college’s part, but that portfolio managers acted for investment reasons. Earlier reports in the media said Williams College dumped its investment because of political uncertainty in Quebec.

Other colleges and universities that have dumped their Hydro bonds are Dartmouth in New Hampshire, Tufts and Boston universities as well as Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

But Mayer emphasized that not all divested for reasons specific to the Cree campaign against the bonds. “While it is true that a few U.S. schools have sold their Hydro bonds, they have done so for reasons that were not, as some have claimed, either social, environmental or ethical. Tufts University was the only school that took action on the basis of the potential environmental and human impacts of the proposed great Whale project,” she claimed.

According to Mayer, the big buyers of the bonds aren’t colleges and universities, but pension funds, life insurance funds and institutional investors. “A Hydro-Quebec bond is usually purchased by the cautious investor looking fora solid investment. The Crees at the present time have a good investment,” she added.

Mayer was referring to the La Grande Agreement signed in 1986, in which Crees were granted $95 million in Hydro bonds and $15 million in cash. The Crees’ bonds yield an interest rate of 9.5 percent.

These bonds are of the “sinking fund” variety, which means Hydro-Quebec is committed to repurchasing some each year until none are left in Cree hands. Still owned by Crees is approximately $60 million worth of the bonds. But Mayer added that if they wished, the Crees can get rid of the bonds. “The bonds trade quite briskly,” she added.