Prospects look good for cheaper, independent electrical power in Ontario. The market is forcing an end to the current impasse on energy policy. Reforms are apt to include "wholesale access," which should arrive in the province before the year is out. Otherwise, Ontario may lose jobs to neighboring provinces and states. April 1997 seems a likely target date for decision, coinciding with the start of the next Provincial Government budget.
In Ontario, however, any discussion of electric industry reform must naturally begin with Ontario Hydro, the province's huge, provincially owned, vertically integrated and self-regulated electric utility. A government report has proposed a regulatory scheme (em perhaps even including a company breakup (em but Ontario Hydro is not going quietly.
The company already has dismissed recommendations that it be broken up into several smaller units, saying that North America needs a major player in Ontario. And the company has the clout to back up its stance.
Enormous economic pressures are building. Quebec is already moving to strengthen its private generating sector, adding urgency. If Ontario should succeed in breaking the impasse, a clear signal of progress would be the end of self-regulation and the creation of a government regulator to oversee the provincial electricity industry.
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