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TorontoNot even $2.3 million in paid advertising spin from the Tory government will be able to sell Ontarians on the idea that deregulation of electricity will be a positive for them, say members of the Ontario Electricity Coalition (OEC), a province-wide grassroots group fighting to stop free market competition of electricity.

All the ads in the world arent going to stop electricity rates from doubling. The Tories are spending millions in taxpayers dollars on ads that distort the facts. Its an insult to the people of this province, who in the end will be hurt by a poorly thought out decision.

Deregulation of electricity to allow market competition has been disastrous for consumers just about everywhere it has been tried. No matter how the Tories try and spin it, deregulation has resulted in brown outs, compromised service and higher rates in communities where it has been implemented, says Paul Kahnert, a spokesperson for the coalition.

Criticism of the Tory governments decision to open the electricity market by May 1 of this year has been widespread and come from diverse voices. The scheme has been called half-assed by a prominent business leader, flagged by Toronto Hydro as resulting in unpredictable electricity rates and slammed in countless newspaper editorials.

There are a lot of people and organizations out there that think deregulation and privatization of electricity will be bad for consumers and bad for the economy. There are five Tories vying for the Premiers job and I dare anyone of them to show real leadership and say they would put deregulation on hold, says Kahnert.

Members of the OEC will be touring the province and taking part in a series of town hall forums that will ensure Ontarians are told the truth about the hazards of electricity competition and privatization of hydro power. The Tory ads sure arent going to tell people that part of market opening will mean our electricity will be sold to U.S. markets. Essentially we will be vying to buy our own power at the higher rates now being paid by American.

In New York, electricity rates are four times higher than in Ontario. In Detroit, rates are 80 per cent more. Prices tripled in Alberta, warns Kahnert.

The OEC will take part in a public forum discussing deregulation and privatization of electricity in Kingston on Monday, February 4 between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Kingston-Frontenac Public Library, 131 Johnson St.


For more information please contact:

Paul Kahnert, Ontario Electricity Coalition
(416) 407-0077
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774