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Toronto Sault Ste. Marie area residents opposed to the deregulation and privatization of electricity are gearing up to short circuit the Tory government plan to bring competition to the hydro sector. They will be attending a public forum detailing the hazards of electricity reform in Sault St. Marie on March 4, 7 pm to 9 pm at 68 Dennis St.

The public forum is organized by local 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.

What were doing is telling the real story and debunking the Ontario 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 were deregulation has proved a huge economic blunder, 22 states are now re-regulating the industry, says Paul Kahnert with the coalition.

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.

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.

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, says Kahnert.

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

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For more information, please contact:
Paul Kahnert, Ontario Electricity Coalition
(416) 407-0077
Gary Premo, (705) 759-4945
Stella Yeadon, Ontario Electricity Coalition Communications
(416) 578-8774