FortisBC’s two-tier rate system is simply unfair, says Osoyoos senior

By on July 30, 2014
A current power meter. FortisBC plans to update customers to smart readers which will eliminate the need to send meter readers. A Saltspring Island woman has launched a class action lawsuit against BC Hydro after a smart meter was installed on her property against her will. (Photo supplied)

A current power meter. FortisBC plans to update customers to smart readers which will eliminate the need to send meter readers. A Saltspring Island woman has launched a class action lawsuit against BC Hydro after a smart meter was installed on her property against her will. (Photo supplied)

Dear Editor:

As “super seniors” (we were both born in 1931), my wife and I sent a letter to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) expressing our dismay at its acceptance of the two-tier conservation rate system.

The following are excerpts from our letter, as well as excerpts from the letter that I received in reply. The increase in our kw/h rate before the two-tiered system was introduced from 2008-2013 was a whopping 33.09 per cent.

The latest rate increase was 7.37 per cent.

That’s more than 40 per cent in six year and that didn’t seem to faze the commission at all.

The opening reply quoted a 2007 energy plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to maximize conservation efforts.

Out of this came a plan to “explore with the BCUC a new rate structure.”

Fortis gleefully came up with a two-tier system designed to generate more profit.

The ridiculously low first tier was a median, not an average.

As a mathematician, I can assure you there is often a huge difference.

Statistics can be open to question. For instance, were vacant homes, suites and apartments omitted in coming up with these calculations?

And without accusations, I certainly would want to see the figures.

My model would have been based on the energy consumption of an average family of say, two adults and two children, in an average home in an average climate in British Columbia. Given this model, there is no possible way we would have exceeded any such tier 1.

We live in Osoyoos, which has the best climate in Canada, and we are usually away for three or four months.

We have geothermal heating, a house with the highest insulation levels specified when we built 15 years ago and habits learned during the Great Depression such as turning off the lights and saving energy at all times.

We should be well below any tier 1 level.

But the fact is we greatly exceeded the unrealistic bi-monthly 1,600 kw/h threshold.

In business, the concept is to make a profit – huge profits – if possible.

But should FortisBC be classified as a business?

Most people I discuss this with have the view that FortisBC should be in the non—profit classification.

Where’s the competition that a business should have?

How about doing away with the outrageous salaries that the Fortis executives pay themselves.

In times before Fortis came along, we had an efficient electricity company that provided reasonable rates without any noticeable protest.

All of our schools, government office buildings, sports arenas, etc., are going to experience the full brunt of the two-tier system.

Lastly, if we want to reduce pollution, how about lowering the cost of electricity in order to make electric vehicles more enticing?

I would suggested reading two books which indicate how Fortis is trying to hoodwink us. The first is titled “The Shock Doctrine” by Canadian author Naomi Klein. The second is titled “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” by American author John Perkins. Both books will terrify the average citizen.

Don Forsyth

Osoyoos, B.C.

 

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