FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The New Democrats are sounding another BC Hydro rate hike alarm claiming BC residents will face massive hydro rate hikes after the Liberal government last year secretly added more than one billion dollars to Hydro’s debt.
The NDP says in a news release, and has argued in the legislature, that according to Hydro’s latest annual report, the crown corporation was one point one billion dollars off target for a major debt
Former leader, Adrian Dix, now the party spokesperson on BC Hydro issues, attributed the debt blunder primarily to a huge overestimation of domestic revenue for power, which he claims will result in the future rate hikes.
The power demand reduction is believed to have primarily resulted from warmer than usual El Nino winter weather, as well as a significant decrease in industrial power demands, much of it believed to be associated with the downturn in the oil and gas industry.
Party leader John Horgan claims, “Just after the last election, Premier Christy Clark surprised families across B-C with a staggering 28% hydro rate hike.”
He went on to charge that by missing their debt reduction plan by more than one billion dollars, Hydro and the Clark government could now saddle each BC ratepayer with another 500 dollar hike right after next year’s election.
Meantime, Mr. Dix claims, “The current rate hikes were based on a plan that didn’t expect that extra billion dollars in debt, which means that there is an inevitable day of reckoning to come.”
Even worse he argues, “Christy Clark and her Energy Minister seem completely unconcerned, and are pretending this one point one billion dollar mistake doesn’t exist, when British Columbians know it exists, and it’s going to show up as an increase in their hydro bills.”
Energy Minister Bill Bennett, again arguing BC residential rates are the third lowest in North America says, “I think all you have to do is take a look around the world to make a determination as to how BC Hydro is doing, and whether ratepayers in BC should have faith in BC Hydro.”