Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce they are proceeding with the Site C dam to avoid further B.C. Hydro rate increases, Dec. 11, 2017. (Black Press files)

B.C. Hydro rate freeze refused, rate goes up 3% in April

Utility a ‘financial mess,’ Energy Minister Michelle Mungall says

The B.C. Utilities Commission has refused the NDP government’s planned B.C. Hydro rate freeze, approving a three per cent increase for 2018.

The commission announced Thursday that it has approved increases of four per cent for 2016, 3.5 per cent for 2017 and three per cent to take effect April 1 of this year. The increases were part of the B.C. Liberal government’s 10-year rate plan, as it embarked on the Site C dam project and major refits of dams in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announced in November that the government had instructed B.C. Hydro to change its application to the commission to deliver a rate freeze for this year.

RELATED: NDP promises Hydro rate freeze for 2018

Mungall said she is disappointed about the decision, and blamed it on the “financial mess” left behind by the B.C. Liberal government, which piled up deferred debt and directed the commission to hold rates down in previous years.

“We chose not to go with that direction, because we felt that was an inappropriate way to start our relationship with this independent regulator,” Mungall said.

She noted that people who have difficulty paying their electricity bills will soon be able to apply for a “crisis grant,” and the utility’s winter rate program is in effect to allow people to defer payment of the highest electricity bills of the year.

Mungall said the BCUC review looked beyond rates to the broader financial state of the utility.

“And what they uncovered, in a nutshell, is a mess,” Mungall said. “And it’s not fair to ratepayers, it’s not fair to British Columbians and that’s why we’re going to clean up that mess.”

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said the rate freeze is another broken promise, along with the NDP’s $400-a-year rebate for renters and $10-a-day child care.

Just Posted

Kelowna cyclist sent to hospital after colliding with truck

A woman was sent to the hospital Wednesday morning

Line-up set for 2019 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna set

Eleven chefs from across the country have been selected for championships Feb. 1 and 2.

Rutland’s Christmas Light Up to bring holiday magic once again

The annual Rutland Light Up takes place Dec. 9

A Charlie Brown Christmas comes to Kelowna for a Holiday treat

The Peanuts classic comes to life again Dec. 6 to 16

Lake Country will get a new fire hall

Council allowed the district to borrow up to $6.6 million for the hall

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Fundraiser established for the family of South Okanagan crash victim

A GoFundMe account has been established for the Penticton driver who died in an accident

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

Most Read