BCUC DOUBLES RATE RIDER TO PAY FOR LIBERAL MISMANAGEMENT AT B.C. HYDRO
February 16th, 2012
VICTORIA – In a clear rebuke of the B.C. Liberals’ attempts to continue to hide and defer the costs of mismanaged energy policy, the B.C. Utilities Commission has ruled B.C. Hydro must double the Deferral Account Rate Rider, says New Democrat energy critic John Horgan.
“This is why we have the BCUC,” said Horgan. “The Liberals have been interfering with B.C. Hydro for 10 years, adding costs and putting off expenses to future generations, and now the chickens have come home to roost.”
The B.C. Utilities Commission rejected B.C. Hydro’s request to continue paying back their growing deferral accounts with a 2.5 per cent “rate rider,” ruling instead that the premium already being paid by ratepayers must double to at least five per cent beginning Apr. 1, 2012.
“This is a clear indictment of the way the Liberals have been running B.C. Hydro. The government’s job is to set policy, not rates,” said Horgan.
“The Liberals’ internal review panel went looking for ways to lower rate increases, but the Utilities Commission has now said they won’t allow the billions accumulating in the deferral accounts to continue to grow.”
Last October, the Auditor General issued a scathing report showing B.C. Hydro has racked up $2.2 billion in deferral accounts, a number set to rise to $5 billion by 2017.
The BCUC wrote in its Reasons for Decision on Feb. 15, 2012: “Recent history indicates that the Deferral Account net balances have continued and are continuing to grow, without any opportunity in sight to clear them.”
The BCUC’s ruling accepted B.C. Hydro’s requested rate increase of 3.91 per cent, but noted it was because there is “no precedent for the Commission to grant a higher interim rate than sought by the Applicant.” B.C. Hydro originally requested a 9.73 per cent increase, plus the continued 2.5 per cent Deferral Account Rate Rider, but lowered their request to 3.91 per cent after the Liberals ordered the change.
“Premier Christy Clark made a cynical move to try to lower the required rate increases B.C. Hydro needs to pay for 11 years of the Liberals’ total mismanagement of the Crown corporation,” said Horgan. “The damage is done, and B.C. Hydro is teetering on the brink. No one wants to see higher rates, but the blame for this rests squarely with the B.C. Liberals."