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OTTAWA, Ont. — In a telephone poll conducted by the Ontario Electricity Coalition, most Ottawa residents said they think publicly owned, non-profit utilities are better for consumers and the environment than private corporations.

“Ownership and control of our electricity supply matters,” said OEC spokesperson Paul Kahnert. “We need a debate on Ontario’s energy future because the plan that has been developed under the Liberal government will mean more privatization and another expensive experiment with deregulation.”

Of 403 Ottawa households polled by the OEC, 78% said they would get a lower price on electricity from a non-profit, publicly owned utility than from a private, for-profit corporation. Asked which would do the best job on energy conservation and protecting the environment, 82% said a publicly owned utility.

Yet, the Liberal electricity plan released last month talks about the evolution of the electricity sector toward a “workably competitive market.”

“Just like the Conservatives before them, the Liberals are promising lower prices through competition,” Kahnert said. “But a competitive market only functions with deregulation and privatization. As our neighbours in the United States are discovering, the costs for consumers — both at home, in industry and in institutions like schools, hospitals and libraries — only go up.”

Voters should be asking their local candidates where they and their parties stand on keeping electricity public and regulated in Ontario, Kahnert said.

“The Liberals have called their plan the largest peacetime expenditure in Canada, more than any new money they have promised for health care or education. Yet Energy Minister Dwight Duncan is unwilling to join me in a debate on this issue,” said Kahnert, who issued the challenge to Duncan in Windsor last week. “I offer the same challenge to Dalton McGuinty so his constituents here in Ottawa can finally hear the facts about what he has planned for Ontario’s electricity future.”

For more information, contact:

Paul Kahnert, 416-407-0077