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BC Hydro rate freeze killed

BC Hydro rate freeze killed”

Last fall, the NDP government directed BC Hydro to withdraw its planned three per cent rate hike as part of an election campaign promise, saying it would save ratepayers around $150 million a year. The BCUC says there is insufficient regulatory justification to approve the NDP plan.

That finding will rankle opponents of the Site C dam, who argued that the Horgan government was wrong to approve the continued construction of BC Hydro's $10.7-billion hydroelectric dam given unresolved questions about future demand for electricity.

"The Panel acknowledges the issue of affordability caused by real rate increases", the BCUC wrote in its decision. "If a utility owner is willing to forego some or all of their return on investment, rates could potentially be reduced accordingly".

Get ready for your BC Hydro rates to go up once again.

The freeze was rejected after a two-year-long regulatory journey that was nearly derailed over musings by Premier John Horgan to reporters during a wide-ranging question and answer session in January.

The original three per cent increase was proposed by the BC Liberals in 2016. The NDP prematurely announced the freeze at that time, though the application had not yet been approved.

The NDP campaigned in the 2017 election on a one-year freeze of Hydro rates.

The B.C. Utilities Commission has rejected a request by the provincial government to freeze rates at BC Hydro for the coming year, meaning a pending rate increase of three percent will come into effect, April 1, 2018. "This is going to be a big saving in their pockets".

She said no decision has been made on how those programs will be paid for, and she acknowledged that the BCUC made its decision based on the financial state of the Crown corporation.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall said she disappointed in the British Columbia Utilities Commission's (BCUC) decision.

"I appreciate their rationale". They were very clear in a nutshell that there's a mess at B.C. Hydro. "Rather, we want to respect their role in making sure that the public's interest is met when it comes to our utilities, and that's exactly what they did". The NDP fired former Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald from the job past year and shuffled the report.

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson attacked the Horgan government for failing to live up to a "reckless promise".

"The hydro rate freeze now joins the renters' rebate, the 114,000 new units of affordable housing, $10-a-day child care and massive tax hikes on the NDP's growing pile of broken promises".

After months of discussing the clear direction from government for a rate freeze, the BCUC panel decided the Premier's stated preference for a "better course of action" warranted another round of hearings to gather views from stakeholders and BC Hydro.

"I know this news is going to be quite disappointing for a lot of British Columbians", Mungall said. "Today, we have learned that rates are in fact going up.

Last month, BC Hydro announced enhanced measures to help customers manage higher winter bills, including a winter payment plan, giving customers the option to spread bill payments over a six-month period, and increased funding for low-income energy-conservation programs", she adds.

"In addition, starting in May, BC Hydro residential customers who find themselves in an emergency - such as loss of employment, unanticipated medical expenses or pending eviction for example - will be eligible for a grant toward their outstanding BC Hydro bill".



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