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.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 east of the Yale Road West exit on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Firefighters battle wildfire in Chilliwack near Hwy 1

Helicopter dropping water on large wildfire in Chilliwack near Yale Road West exit, north of highway

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

Lift equipment is driven away from a fire in an adjacent unit on Industrial Way in Chilliwack on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack firefighters deal with heavy smoke, extreme heat in challenging industrial fire

Crews successful in containing fire to 1 unit in industrial building, adjacent units suffer smoke damage

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read