Thunder Bay–Area residents opposed to the deregulation of electricity say the local Thunder Bay economy will suffer unless the provincial government pulls the plug on market competition for hydro. Community organizers are gearing up to short circuit the sell-off of public electricity and are encouraging Thunder Bay residents to attend a public forum detailing the hazards of electricity reform in Thunder Bay on Saturday, April 06, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Pauls United Church, 349 Waverly Street, Lunan Hall.
The Ontario Electricity Coalition (OEC), a province-wide, grassroots group opposed to electricity deregulation and privatization, has organized the local forum, one of many scheduled across the province detailing the facts about electricity reform and encouraging community actions to halt the hydro sell-off.
“What we’re doing is telling the real story and debunking the Ontario government’s $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 OEC.
In Alberta, the cost of deregulation to residents and local businesses is estimated at over $8 billion. Despite the dismal experiences of other jurisdictions, the Ontario Tory government plans to forge ahead with opening the electricity market to competition on May 1 and the outright sell-off of Hydro One.
Experts are also warning that international trade rules will prevent the Ontario government from protecting users from soaring electricity prices and ensuring the province has enough power once the market is deregulated and electricity is sold in the U.S. market.
“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. This has been the experience elsewhere and won’t be any different here. We can fight deregulation and win. It’s not a done deal and everyone in the Thunder Bay community must tell their local MPP to stop the hydro sell-off,” says Kahnert.
- Paul Kahnert will be in Thunder Bay and available for interviews on Friday April 5, 2002.
To find out more about the Ontario Electricity Coalition visit their website at electricitycoalition.org.
For more information please contact:
Paul Kahnert, Ontario Electricity Coalition
Evelina Pan, (807) 345-2621
Stella Yeadon, OEC Communications