EDITORIAL: Hydro moves raise questions

The provincial government has done a good thing in scaling back B.C. Hydro rate increases.

The provincial government has done a good thing in scaling back B.C. Hydro rate increases. The way it is doing so raises more questions than answers.

On Tuesday, Energy Minister Rich Coleman announced that the government was cancelling a B.C. Utilities Commission hearing into Hydro rate increases, which have already been scaled back from the 50 per cent premium increases which were initially proposed about two years ago, under former premier Gordon Campbell.

At that time, the rate increases were suggested to allow for introduction of the smart meter program, purchase of private power under long-term contracts and major capital expenses, including turbine installation at several dams and other upgrades.

When Coleman was named energy minister under new Premier Christy Clark, she asked that he review Hydro’s plans. The review said that the smart meter program should stay, and that other projects should proceed, but also said that rates didn’t need to go up as steeply.

Hydro then asked for an eight per cent increase in 2012, 3.91 per cent in 2013 and 3.91 per cent in 2014. Planned increases were 9.73 per cent each year.

On Tuesday, Coleman said Hydro received an eight per cent increase in 2011 and a 3.91 per cent increase in 2012, along with a rate rider of five per cent. The government is now saying it wants a 1.44 per cent increase in 2013, making the rate increase 17 per cent over three years. There was no word of what is planned in 2014 or beyond.

It all raises these questions. Why is there a B.C. Utilities Commission if the government can simply override its mandate and role?

Is this all politics, in preparation for the 2013 provincial election? Is the 2013 rate increase being kept artificially low on the expectation that the NDP will win government, as polls suggest?

– Black Press

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s bylaw department shifts from reactive to proactive

8.5 times more files being completed by bylaw officers

Port Alberni’s West Coast Rangers hold rendezvous

Three-day event featured historical re-enactment

Port Alberni Port Authority talks logistics for cruise ship visit

Some restrictions for pedestrians, boaters will be in place

Port Alberni’s ‘Army of Problem Solvers’ to the rescue

Facebook group gathers people who just want to help their neighbours

Hurricane Katrina inspires Alberni author’s new novel

Jacqueline Swann brings message of climate change to life with story of fictional journalist

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Cyclists can choose round trip from Comox to Nanaimo, or Alberni-Nanaimo-Comox

The Boomer’s Legacy British Columbia Bike Ride is back. In a couple… Continue reading

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

Prepare yourself for tick season, says Island Health official

2017 saw three reported cases of Lyme disease

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read