Editorial opinion: Hydro rate hikes, tip of the iceberg

Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan comments on proposed rate hikes

The Liberal government has mismanaged BC Hydro and, as a result, hydro rates will continue to climb, affecting all British Columbians.

The latest example of mismanagement is the Liberal government’s bungling of the Northwest Transmission Line project, resulting in a massive $342 million cost overrun.

While Premier Christy Clark was quick to tell television cameras the colossal overrun won’t lead to a big spike in hydro bills for families across the province, her own energy minister Bill Bennett finally admitted the truth, saying, “everyone in government recognizes that rates are going to have to go up.”

The Northwest Transmission Line is an important project, and if it were managed by a fiscally competent government, the impact on B.C. families would be minimal. But the project is being managed by the Liberals – the same government that raids dividends each year from B.C. Hydro on profits that don’t exist.

Hard-working ratepayers across B.C. will be the ones who end up paying for this latest Liberal foul-up through rate hikes that could be in the double-digits. The Liberals’ ongoing abuse of accounting tricks that hide billions in debt at B.C. Hydro combined with signing contracts to buy high-priced low-value power will be major contributors to rate increases in the years to come.

Families that are already living paycheck to paycheck – people working two or even three jobs in order to pay the bills – are going to feel the impact the most. Turning the heat off during the winter isn’t an option.

The 84 per cent cost overrun is a direct result of Liberal political interference.

It was the Liberal government that prevented the B.C. Utilities Commission from scrutinizing the project plan in the first place.

The commission is the independent body in B.C. that has a mandate to regulate electricity utilities and “ensuring that customers receive safe, reliable and non-discriminatory energy services at fair rates.”

When the Liberals interfered with the commission doing its job, the government interfered with the best interests of the ratepayers, and the lack of oversight paved the way for the massive cost overrun.

The result is looming rates hikes that will add to the long list of hidden taxes, fees and increased rates that are already hammering family budgets.

Ferry fares have gone up every single year since the Liberals “restructured” BC Ferries in 2003. Fares have shot up so high that ridership and earnings have plummeted.

The B.C. Liberals have raised Medical Service Premium rates for five consecutive years (plus a massive 50-per-cent increase in 2002).  Since 2001 they’ve increased MSP rates by 85 per cent, or $736 per year for a family.

The B.C. Liberals have doubled university tuition fees since 2001.

The Liberals introduced a new residential care rate structure in 2010 which raised rates for 75 per cent of patients. A senior whose before-tax income is $22,000 will now be forced to pay close to an additional $2,000 – or approximately 10 per cent of net income – for long term care.

And the Liberals have made it clear that things are about to get worse.

Christy Clark’s new wheelchair tax, introduced just days after the election was over, is just the beginning.

The fact is Christy Clark and the Liberals are poor managers of the economy and BC Hydro, even though they spend millions of taxpayer dollars on advertising campaigns that tell you otherwise.

The post-election bill for that Liberal mismanagement will be arriving soon, and it will be landing in the mailboxes of hard working British Columbians.

 

John Horgan, MLA for Juan De Fuca,

New Democrat energy critic

 

 

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

Just Posted

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

Police are looking to identify suspects in an Oct. 10 report of mischief in at a construction site in the 2800-block of Peatt Road in Langford. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP seeks suspects after trio spray paints Langford construction site

Three individuals caught on camera hopping a fence on Peatt Road

Victoria police are asking for help locating 14-year-old, high-risk missing youth, Anabella Lilly. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police seek help locating high-risk missing youth

Police say the circumstances under which 14-year-old Anabella Lilly went missing are ‘high-risk’

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Reader’s Lens
A pileated woodpecker looks for a quick meal on a cedar spike in this picture taken by East Sooke resident Armin Sielopp. To submit a photo to Reader’s Lens, please email editor@sookenewsmirror.com. (Contributed photo)
Reader’s Lens

This week’s reader photo

Most Read