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

VIDEO: Hold onto your funny bones: Ron James is back on the Island

He’s been called ‘a genius’, and ‘funniest man in Canada’. Find out why when he comes to town.

Chemainus campground on the chopping block as ALC deadline looms

Owners fighting to continue facility’s operation, with a huge outpouring of support

Malahat truck crash cleared but over 200 still without power

Hydro poles taken out in Monday afternoon crash

Controversial Chemainus building must be torn down

Weight of evidence from bylaw enforcement staff and police is enough for North Cowichan council

UPDATE with VIDEO: Home on Allenby Road suffers early morning fire

The fire department was first called to the scene at 6:30 a.m.

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Two Nanaimo residents share $5-million Lotto 6/49 prize

Jesse Logan and Teresa Winters Day matched all six numbers in Aug. 21 Lotto 6/49 draw

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read