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The Ontario power blackout the worst in North American history is a serious wake-up call, showing how fragile the provinces electricity system has become after being dismantled, deregulated and handed in part to corporations. Its no coincidence the blackout happened deep in the heart of deregulated territory (the only other deregulated parts of the continent are Texas and Alberta).

Failed market schemes and entanglement with the US electric system have brought Ontarians the result long predicted by CUPE and other opponents of for-profit, deregulated power: inadequate electricity supply, widespread power blackouts, health and safety dangers, and serious economic problems.

The Tory attack on public power included breaking up Ontario Hydro (a company that used to deal with electricity from start to finish) and forcing reliance on a privatized electricity market for new supply, while tangling our wires with the electricity system in the northeast US and canceling much-needed conservation and energy efficiency programs.

The blackout gives new energy to pro-public power advocates, as a provincial election draws near. The provincial NDP has calculated that a price cap on rates combined with subsidies to business have cost taxpayers upwards of $1.5 billion money thats flowing into private pockets. The blackout has also shone light on the spotty track records of Ohios FirstEnergy corporation, and New Yorks Niagara Mohawk Power company, two private corporations involved in the power failures. Visit cupe.ca for more background and analysis, including links to other online resources.