Hydro rates going up, ‘but not 26%’

Energy Minister Bill Bennett has denied reports that BC Hydro rates are poised to go up more than 26 per cent in the next two years.

VICTORIA – Energy Minister Bill Bennett has denied reports that BC Hydro rates are poised to go up more than 26 per cent in the next two years.

Bennett was peppered with questions Wednesday after one of BC Hydro’s unions released an internal BC Hydro document suggesting a 19 per cent rate increase next year and another six per cent the following year. The compounding effect would produce an increase of 26.4 per cent over two years.

Bennett said the document was prepared for a ministry committee working with BC Hydro on electricity rates, and has been revised three times since the leaked version was created in August. He said the committee has found ways to reduce the rate increases needed to cover extensive construction and other costs for the utility, but he wouldn’t put a number on the prospective rate increases.

The work includes identifying 19 independent power projects whose power purchase agreements are to either be cancelled or deferred.

NDP energy critic John Horgan said BC Liberal interference has led to the current situation.

“Expensive private power contracts, billions in Hydro debt hidden in deferral accounts, a sidelining of the independent B.C. Utilities Commission, an 84 per cent cost overrun on the Northwest Transmission Line,” Horgan said. “There is no question that the Liberal government has mismanaged BC Hydro.”

Bennett acknowledged that the government’s 2011 intervention to cap rate increases below four per cent for two years has increased the pressure on today’s rates. BC Hydro had been proposing rate hikes of more than nine per cent for 2012 and 2013.

“I think we are feeling the impact of decades of difficult decisions by successive governments, Socreds, NDP, BC Liberal,” Bennett said. “All of us have difficulty looking the ratepayer directly in the eye and saying, by the way, we’re going to increase your rates by X.”

 

Just Posted

Penticton’s second Snakebite festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Snakebite Film Festival showing LBGT, Indigenous and other diverse films

LETTER: Funds were borrowed from ICBC and B.C. Hydro

Method helped government hype but depleted needed money in the corporations

LETTER: Questions raised about high docks in Summerland

Public docks were replaced following damage from flooding on Okanagan Lake

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

EDITORIAL: Revisiting Banks Crescent

Summerland had earlier considered controversial development at same location

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read