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

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

Faster response may have prevented fatal outcome at B.C. trampoline park

Coroner’s report rules Greater Victoria father Jay Greenwood’s death accidental

100-pound pumpkin stolen a second time from B.C. business

According to security footage, a man and woman took the pumpkin on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Feds decriminalizing drugs possible if Jagmeet Singh pushes for it, expert says

National pharmacare was one of Singh’s most highly-touted platform policies

In the news: Wexit, Brexit and Trump sparks outrage

There’s been a surge of support for an Alberta separatist group

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Most Read