Explanations don’t add up to all the increases

Up, up, up. No, not your paycheque, unfortunately, your bills. Everywhere we turn there’s a new premium or an increased rate.

Up, up, up.

No, not your paycheque, unfortunately, your bills.

Everywhere we turn there’s a new premium or an increased rate.

A swath of folks are getting hit with higher premiums for medical care in British Columbia. It’s worth noting that other provinces in Canada offer health care without the extra tax. Now, if we got vision and dental care out of it, it might seem a tiny bit more worth it.

Food prices have risen, driven by a drought in California, we’re told.

If there was ever a convincing argument for planting your own vegetable garden, it’s comparing your grocery bill to what it was five years ago.

Gas at the pumps has just shot up multiple cents per litre. There’s a convoluted explanation, of course, involving markets and trading and supply and OPEC and refineries, but what it really boils down to is more profits for the wealthy on the backs of the little guy.

Note that when we were supposedly in an oil glut we didn’t see prices at the pump slip below $1.

Rates for natural gas and hydro are also on the rise — constantly, it seems.

Supposedly, last week consumption of power through BC Hydro hit an all-time high.

Specifically, on Jan. 3, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The old record had held for more than a decade.

No surprise, the highest demand for electricity is during the winter months, in the evening.

Dark and cold will do that.

But there are plenty of us who aren’t using more power than we used to, yet we’re seeing our bills climb, significantly.

Costs vary, of course, depending on what a person has hooked up to the power grid.

If your heat, for example, is electrically driven, your increase will be higher than someone who uses an electric alternative.

But we can’t help but roll our eyes at the suggestions for saving power. We should lower our thermostats, we’re told blithely by BC Hydro. As if we will find it practical to lower the temperature inside by five degrees while the wind howls outside so we can claw back 10 per cent.

Unplugging our second fridge, we’re admonished, can save $90 per year. Woe to those of us who don’t have a second fridge.

Washing in cold water can save $27 a year and turning off unnecessary lights can bring us the windfall of $12 per year ($1 a month, wow).

Somehow, it never seems to add up to the extra we’re paying now over what we paid five, 10 or even two years ago.