BC Hydro want to add one third to residential power bills over the next three years. Hydro wants annual increases of 10% and needs the money to pay for new private power projects coming on stream with prices far above the cost of power generated by the company itself.
NDP Energy Critic John Horgan says,
“Independent power producers are selling to BC Hydro at about a $100 a megawatt-hour and Hydro is selling it back to us for $50. [The rate increase] is another dive into our pockets to pay for failed schemes.”
Horgan recently complained that BC Hydro spent over $62,000 on a lavish reception for politicians and reporters at the Whistler Conference Centre Sept. 29. The tab included $11,500 including HST for alcohol. Similarly, $360,000 was wasted on Gordon Campbell’s photo op near the future Site C dam project. Liberal supporters and reporters were flown in to the remote area and wined and dined at public expense.
In July, Horgan reported that the failed decision to make the BC Transmission Corporation independent and then to reintegrate it with BC Hydro wasted $65 million plus whatever extra costs are required to put the pieces back together. Horgan also warns the BC Liberals’ plan to force BC Hydro to rush into spending $1 billion to install “smart” hydro meters in every BC home by 2012 is a disaster waiting to happen
Letters are arriving at homes of families with elders in long term care. Monthly rent is about to skyrocket as it will for one family that has been paying $950 a month for nursing home care in Abbotsford. The elderly woman’s monthly rent is increasing to $1,959 per month. This is the result of a policy put in place by then Health Minister Kevin Falcon. Residents must pay 80% of their income for care but still pay for their own clothing, dentures, cable TV service, telephones and other personal requirements.
Homeowners in North Vancouver will see their municipal utility [water, sewer, garbage] rates jump by 14% for 2011. Chief Administrative Officer David Stuart says, “We’re going to continue – I want to be really clear about this – we’re going to continue to see a trending upward with respect to these utilities.”
Cost increases faced by North Vancouver affect every other municipality in BC’s lower mainland because these services are managed regionally.
TransLink is asking Metro Vancouver mayors for up to $68.2 million new funding in 2011 to help fund transit options including the Evergreen Line.
There are other government initiated cost increases facing BC citizens. The carbon tax is set to rise by 50% in 2011 and 2012. HST increases each family’s tax burden, medical services plan premiums increase 6% next month and will continue rising. The effect of the private power agreements is only beginning because the prices paid to producers are far higher than BC Hydro produced power and the contracts contain upward price adjustments and the purchase commitments – measuring in the tens of billions – are ‘Take or Pay,’ meaning BC Hydro pays even if the power is unsaleable.
Remember this blog when you read how the government is raising interest rates, property taxes, tolls, fares and other user fees because of inflation. Mortgages and rents will cost more because of higher lending rates, which will cause yet more inflation.
With careless government spending and regressive taxation measures, ordinary citizens are told:
“You can pay us more now AND pay us even more later.”