B.C. Hydro rate freeze promised for 2018

Three per cent rate increase to be cancelled, review after Site C fate determined

The B.C. government has applied to freeze B.C. Hydro electricity rates for one year and cancel a proposed three per cent hike originally planned for next year.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said Wednesday the one-year freeze will give time for a complete review of B.C. Hydro’s debt and its projects. That will start affter the cabinet decides the fate of the Site C dam project on the Peace River.

In debate on her ministry’s budget Tuesday, Mungall cited a B.C. Hydro esitmate that cancelling the Site C project would translate into a 10 per cent rate increase for the utility, or additional debt of $4 billion to cancel the dam project and return the site to the state it was two years ago when construction began.

RELATED: Decision time for John Horgan on Site C dam

“That is why we are commencing our review of B.C. Hydro following our decision on Site C, so we’re not speculating but we are working with factual information in terms of the direction that we’re taking,” Mungall told reporters at the legislature Wednesday.

B.C. Liberal finance critic Tracy Redies said the one-year freeze takes $150 million in revenue away from B.C. Hydro, and cancelling Site C would make matters worse.

Premier John Horgan campaigned on a promise to freeze rates and complete an independent review of Site C by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

Hydro rates have increased 24 per cent over the last four years, as the utility has taken on major construction upgrades and deferred debt to keep rates from rising even higher.. The rate freeze follows a budget commitment made in September to phase out the provincial sales tax on electricity sold to businesses.

Horgan said his government will be meeting with B.C. Hydro officials in the new year to discuss a number of issues including deferred debt, the steady increase in electricity pricing and also the two-tier billing system that charges a higher rate to large residential consumers.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man flees Bay Centre after daytime sexual assault in downtown Victoria

The suspect physically and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl shopping with a friend

Chinese New Year takes to the streets of Victoria

Hundreds brave chilly temperatures to usher in the Year of the Dog

Storm snuffs out lights on Saanich’s Ten Mile Point

Environment Canada wind warning calls for a brief “respite” before winds of up 90 kilometres resume

Sidney fire fighters get their first truck back

After years of neglect, the truck is running just fine

Sidney’s taxes going up this year

Town calls increase “modest,” represent a $34/year jump for the average household

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

School shooting unfathomable to Saanich student

Claremont Grade 10 student reflects on the carnage inflicted on U.S. schools

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Vancouver Island’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

Most Read