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Toronto North Bay area residents opposed to the deregulation and privatization of electricity are gearing up to short circuit the Tory government plan to bring market competition to the hydro sector. They will be attending a public forum detailing the hazards of electricity reform in North Bay on March 6, 7 pm to 9 pm at the Best Western Hotel,

700 Lakeshore Drive.

The public forum is organized by North Bay members of the Ontario Electricity Coalition (OEC), a province-wide grassroots group opposed to electricity deregulation and privatization. The OEC is now travelling the province holding forums detailing the facts about electricity reform and encouraging community actions to halt the hydro sell-off.

We are here in North Bay, in Mike Harris backyard and in the riding that has been earmarked for Ernie Eves should he win the Tory leadership race, to tell the real story and debunk the governments $2.3 million in advertising spin selling electricity competition as good for consumers.

The reality is, that regardless of where deregulation and privatization of electricity has been implemented, the competitive market experiment for hydro has meant higher rates and unreliable service. In the United States where deregulation has proved a huge economic blunder, 22 states are now re-regulating the industry, says Paul Kahnert with the coalition and a speaker at the North Bay forum.

The cost of deregulation to Albertans in the year 2000 was $4.14 billion. Estimated total cost by the end of 2001 is over $8 billion.

But, despite the dismal experiences of other jurisdictions, the Ontario Tory government plans to forge ahead with opening the electricity market to competition and the outright sell-off of Hydro One.

We know from travelling the province that the citizens of Ontario are resoundingly opposed to deregulation and privatization of electricity. The government plans are not a done deal and it is within the power of Ontarians to stop the Tories from moving forward.

Here in North Bay, there are many local residents who understand that forcing competition in the electricity sector will not only mean higher rates for residential customers, but will hurt local industries.

There are community activists who are working to down the Tory who runs for election here based solely on the issue of electricity competition. Both Eves and Harris should be listening to the voters in this riding because there are many vocal residents opposed to electricity competition, says Kahnert.

To find out more about the OEC visit their website at electricitycoalition.org.


For more information please contact:
Paul Kahnert, Ontario Electricity Coalition
(416) 407-0077
Dawson Pratt, OEC North Bay
(705) 474-7600 ext. 5213
Stella Yeadon, OEC Communications
(416) 578-8774