Toronto—Today, when Energy Minister Jim Wilson tells his pro-privatization friends attending an energy distributors’ conference that electricity deregulation will save consumers billions of dollars, he will be fudging the truth and purposely negating the disastrous experiences of California and Alberta, say members of the province-wide Ontario Electricity Coalition, a pro-public power, grassroots group.
“The experience in other jurisdictions where deregulation and privatization of electricity have been implemented has been skyrocketing rates, frequent blackouts and unscrupulous retail resellers.
The Energy Minister just isn’t telling the real story or he is in complete denial. Consumers didn’t save money. But the profit-making companies that snapped up deregulated utilities and resold power sure did make money. The reality is the consumers of Ontario, like those in California, will be hurt by his government’s refusal to accept that this kind of electricity reform doesn’t work. It doesn’t save billions. It costs local economies billions,” says John Wilson, a technical advisor with the coalition.
Last night, nearly 500 people attended a public forum in Toronto on hydro reform. Although he was invited to be part of the debate panel, the energy minister refused to show. Instead, he sent a Tory bureaucrat “who was clearly out of his element and was repeatedly challenged by the audience members, who understand very well that a competitive market for electricity and the ensuing export of power to the United States will be ruinous for consumers, the economy and the environment.
Once again, the OEC is challenging Jim Wilson to take part in a full public debate on electricity reform before the May 1 market opening date.
“If the minister is so sure competition in the sector will be great for the economy and consumers, then why won’t he face the citizen’s of the province in a public debate? Had he been in attendance at the forum last night, he would have heard loud and clear from citizen’s who want the sell-off of electricity scrapped,” says Wilson.
Today the OEC is holding public forums in: Collingwood (the energy minister’s own riding) at the Collingwood Leisure Time Club, 100 Minnesota St.; St. Catharines at the CAW Hall, 124 Bunting Rd.; and in Toronto at Kimberly Public School, 50 Swanwick Ave (Main & Gerrard). All meetings begin at 7 p.m.
For more information about the OEC please check out their website at electricitycoalition.org.
For more information please contact:
John Wilson, Ontario Electricity Coalition
Paul Kahnert, Ontario Electricity Coalition
Stella Yeadon, OEC Communications