Only way to get rid of discriminatory two-tier electricity rates is to vote out Liberals May 9

By on May 2, 2017

Dear Editor:

As many readers of the Osoyoos Times know, I have been trying, for the last three years, to get the provincial Liberal government to do something about the two-tier electricity rates that discriminate against residents (mainly rural) who are entirely dependent on electricity for their hot water and space heating needs.

According to the Liberals, this is a “conservation” rate, but that is not true since it is actually encouraging the greater use of fossil fuels and increasing B.C.’s greenhouse gas and other air emissions.

This two-tier rate was actually designed to “tax” rural electricity users in order to lower the electricity rates in large urban centers, such as Vancouver. And that is why many rural customers are paying an average electricity rate of over 14 cents/kWh, while most Vancouver residents are paying rates that are only slightly above 8 cents/kWh.

This allows the government to claim that B.C.’s electricity rates are among the lowest in North America by citing Vancouver rates, while completely ignoring the rates being paid by many rural customers.

Local MLA Linda Larson has tried to distance herself from this discriminatory and anti-rural rate system by maintaining that the BC Utilities Commission and FortisBC are responsible.

But Fortis BChas stated clearly that “the current structure of the Residential Conservation Rate reflects provincial energy policy.”

This is true.

The full responsibility for the discriminatory two-tier system lies with the Liberal government and they have given no indication, whatsoever, that they are dissatisfied with the results and are willing to change it.

Boundary-Similkameen NDP candidate Colleen Ross, on the other hand, has shown a clear understanding of the punitive impacts that two-tier rates are having on rural residents in B.C. and helped convince NDP leaders to announce a freeze on electricity rates for the next year.

I am not an advocate for any political party. I have been actively engaged in this issue because I have seen my electricity rates and those of my neighbours, increase by more than 100 per cent over the last nine years.

These unacceptable increases are not because the cost of electricity generation has gone up by that much, but because of a deliberate policy of the Liberal government to curry favour with electricity consumers in major urban centers at the expense of rural customers.

After many years of fruitless effort, trying to get the Liberal government to change their policy, I have come to the conclusion, that the only way we will ever rid ourselves of these discriminatory and anti-rural electricity rates is through a change in government.

Nick Marty

Osoyoos, B.C. 

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3 Comments

  1. Dennis

    May 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Agree thanks Nick for all your efforts over the past 3 years

  2. Margo Strouts

    May 9, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks to Nick and Teresa for their ongoing letters and all the work they have put into helping all rural people get rid of this two tier system that is so unfair.

  3. Marc

    May 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Why aren’t people buying wood stoves for heat instead of using expensive, inefficient electric heaters?

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