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.

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

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read