The Energy Minister, Bill Bennett, has recently approved BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), and announced a series of major price hikes for BC Hydro customers, totaling 25% over five years.
The response from many has been to complain, especially about the impact on people on low incomes, on BC’s schools and hospitals, and on a cooperative such as Catalyst Paper with its huge, multi-million dollar electricity bill, which is already tight to the bone financially.
The BC Sustainable Energy Association has long argued that a major decision of this kind should go before the BC Utilities Commission, where it can be subjected to independent, non-political scrutiny and analysis. It has been clear to us for many years that BC Hydro’s rates needed to rise. Our own analysis in 2012 showed the need for a 53% price rise by 2017, leveling off at an annual 2% to cover the price of inflation.