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BURNABY The provincial government should learn Ontarios lesson and scrap plans to integrate British Columbias electricity grid with the Americans, says CUPE BC president Barry ONeill, commenting on a Statistics Canada report released today on the power blackout last summer.

The StatsCan data indicates that 2.4 million workers lost 26.4 million hours of work in the second half of August because of the Ontario-United States power outage and subsequent conservation period.

Ontario decided to integrate their power generation and pricing with the wild west of the American power market, and look what it cost them, ONeill said. B.C. communities cannot afford to take that risk we need reliable, affordable power to rebuild our devastated economy.

While there was a huge loss in production due to the shutdown in Ontario, municipal governments were hit with substantial overtime bills as essential services such as police, fire and ambulance were stretched to the limit.

The B.C. government has broken up BC Hydro with the intent of joining RTO West, an American-led agency that will direct the transmission grid in the Pacific Northwest.

B.C. has avoided the costly mistakes of Ontario so far, ONeill said. Let this be a lesson to the provincial government that it makes no sense to give up public control over something so crucial to our economy as affordable electrical power.


Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, 604-828-7668.

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