Government-Imposed Hydro Rates Compound the Problem

VANCOUVER, Nov. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) said today that BC Hydro's rate increases aren't high enough to cover the cost of providing electricity to customers.

In response to Energy Minister Bennett's statement yesterday regarding 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-accruing 'deferral accounts' that will have to be paid back by even higher rate increases in the future."

BCSEA 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 BCSEA at the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC), referring to the government's cancellation of BCUC's oral hearing into BC Hydro's rates.

BCSEA also expressed concern that the minister's announcement included approval of BC Hydro's in-house cost estimate for the Site C Project on the Peace River. BCSEA had called on the government to send the cost of Site C to BCUC 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 Hackney.

BCSEA is an active intervenor in BCUC proceedings and in government energy policy reviews.

SOURCE: BC Sustainable Energy Association

For further information:

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

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