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Letter I sent regarding Hydro Privatization, tenants and electric heating that was first sent in December 2001.

This was printed in at least the Hamilton Spectator and several other papers in January 2002.

Letter to the Editor:

As a tenant, I am very concerned about how the privatization of Hydro One will affect renters.

Mike Harris says that he wants to privatize Hydro One because it "will lead to more choice and lower prices". In 1995, Mike Harris said: "We want to bring in a rent control program that will truly protect tenants and give them lower rents." Of course with rents and evictions skyrocketting, we know he lied.

Escalating electricity costs will increase the hardships to all tenants, and lead to the economic evictions of many, as they find they can no longer afford their homes.

This is compounded by the Tenant Protection Act that does not allow tenants to apply for a rent decrease if utility costs drop, as did natural gas after last year's momentary but huge rise in price. Meanwhile, under this Act, landlords can apply for an Above Guideline increase, with no maximum, whenever utility costs increase; And landlords are.

The "Protection" Act's guideline is based upon the CPI which already includes utility costs, plus has an additional 2% annual bonus for landlords. So landlords are applying for Above Guideline increases due to last year's momentary increase in gas prices, plus the guideline went up due to that same increase, plus they get a Christmas gift of another 2%, all at the expense of tenants!

Now, think of the effects increases in electricity rates, will have on poor tenants.

Hydro increases will be especially devestating to those tenants whose apartments are electrically heated. I don't know how many tenants would be affected by this additional burden, but I have no doubt it numbers in the thousands.

Has anybody considered how many families will be left homeless by rising hydro rates, and its ultimate social and economic costs?

Robert Levitt
Ontario and Toronto Tenants web site

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