Loading page...

Government-Imposed Hydro Rates Compound the Problem

The BC Sustainable Energy Association said today that BC Hydro’s rate increases aren’t high enough to cover the actual cost of providing electricity to customers.

In response to Energy Minister Bill Bennett’s statement yesterday that the government would put an artificial cap on electricity rate increases, BCSEA’s policy director Tom Hackney said, “Setting rates that are below the true cost of our electrical energy simply shifts today’s expenses into interest-bearing ‘deferral accounts’ that will have to be paid back by even higher rate increases in the future.”

The Association maintains that electricity prices should cover the actual cost of the service so that there is a genuine incentive for customers of all types to cut back on unnecessary energy use and to invest in energy efficiency.

“This is the second time the government has ordered BC Hydro to push current costs into deferral accounts instead of recovering current costs from ratepayers,” said Bill Andrews, legal counsel for the BCSEA at the Utilities Commission, referring to the government’s 2012 cancellation of the Commission’s oral hearing into BC Hydro’s rates.

The Association also expressed concern that the minister’s announcement yesterday included approval of BC Hydro’s in-house cost estimate for the Site C Project on the Peace River. The Sustainable Energy Association had called on the government to send the cost of Site C to the Utilities Commission for an independent second opinion. “BC Hydro claims Site C can be completed for $7.9 billion. However, this can’t be properly compared with alternatives like wind and small hydro power unless the cost is rigorously scrutinized,” said Tom Hackney.

The BC Sustainable Energy Association is an active intervenor in BC Utilities Commission proceedings and in government energy policy reviews.  

- 30 -

Media Contact: Tom Hackney, BCSEA Policy Director, 250-381-4463