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Toronto Toronto 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 at the Eastminster United Church (one block east of Chester, north side of Danforth Ave.) on March 4, 7 pm to 9 pm.

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 where deregulation has proved a huge economic blunder, 22 states are now re-regulating the industry, says John Wilson a technical advisor with the coalition, who along with NDP MPP Marilyn Churley, will speak at the Toronto forum.

Contrary to recent statements made by Ontarios energy minister, that deregulation will save $3 to $6 billion, the real story is that it costs local economies billions, says Wilson.

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. Figures from the United States show that public power is 18 per cent cheaper than that provided through for-profit, deregulated systems.

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. More than 400 people attended a Toronto debate on the issues and they clearly want to stop the sell-off. 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 cost the economy millions and ultimately have detrimental impacts on the environment, says Wilson.

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


For more information please contact:
John Wilson
Ontario Electricity Coalition
(416) 466-6426
Marilyn Churley, NDP MPP Toronto-Danforth
(416) 325-3250
Stella Yeadon, OEC Communications
(416) 578-8774