VANCOUVER, March 3, 2015 /CNW/ - Several groups representing the interests of low and fixed income residential ratepayers have filed a motion in Federal Court to intervene in support of the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) challenge to the federal approval of the Site C Dam Project. They have also stated that they will be seeking intervenor status in the PVLA challenge against the provincial approval of the Site C Dam Project in BC Supreme Court.
The ratepayer groups are represented by the BC Public Interest Advocacy Center (BCPIAC), and represent citizens who are particularly vulnerable to volatile hydro rates and rate increases. They are: Active Support Against Poverty, British Columbia Old Age Pensioners' Organization, Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of BC, Disability Alliance BC and Together Against Poverty Society.
In their motion to intervene, the ratepayers note that they appear frequently before the BC Utilities Commission regarding proposed utility infrastructure projects. They point out that, because utility rates are set so as to provide a reasonable prospect of return on investment, there can be an incentive for utilities to over-invest, to the detriment of customers. The ratepayers say that BC Utilities Commission over-sight acts as a check on utility over-investment and unnecessary bill impacts.
The PVLA legal challenges seek to quash the federal and provincial approvals of the Site C Dam Project on the basis that the only independent review of the Project to date, by the federal/provincial Joint Review Panel, concluded that fundamental questions of cost, need and alternatives to the Project are not settled, and require further independent and public review by the BC Utilities Commission, before the Project is built. However federal and provincial approval of the Project was given without any such regulatory oversight.
PVLA president Ken Boon notes:
"We are very pleased that the residential ratepayer groups wish to intervene in support of our legal challenges to the Site C approvals. They are experienced in utility regulation, and they share our concern that government has failed to address the very real questions about the need for and cost of the Site C project in an open and transparent process.
We understand that the ratepayers are not necessarily for or against Site C, but are concerned about the very questionable process by which these approvals have been given. The only independent review we have had of Site C concluded that we don't know what Site C will cost, and we don't need it on the schedule BC Hydro has planned. We may never need it if alternatives are properly considered. To over-invest billions of dollars in this mega project risks serious impacts on all of us. That's why we are asking the Courts to quash the approvals. These questions need to be examined and answered properly, and they haven't been."
The PVLA case will be heard by the BC Supreme Court starting April 20, 2015, and by the Federal Court of Canada during the week of July 20, 2015. First Nations' legal challenges to the approvals will be heard consecutively with the PVLA cases. All cases will be heard in Vancouver.
SOURCE Peace Valley Landowner Association
For further information: To Contact President Ken Boon, call (250) 262-9014 or (778) 866 2936