Profits don’t stop Fortis from increasing rates

Based on the numbers, I wonder where Fortis' savings will go.

To the editor:

This letter is a follow-up to Barrie Black’s Nov. 16 letter: Upgrades Haven’t Led To Smaller Power Bill (regarding Fortis’s desire to install smart meters to reduce costs).

In his letter, Barrie Black understandably would want cost savings realized by Fortis to be passed on to its customers. Based on the following numbers, I wonder where indeed the savings will go :

FortisBC net earnings:

2010: $130.3 million

2011 : $139.1 million.

Increase in earnings: $8.9 million.

Savings passed on to Customers: ?

Interestingly, over the same period two of the company’s top executives saw an increase in their combined earnings (total compensation) of over $1.5 million.

All my figures come from FortisBC’s Corperate Report 2011, and is public knowledge to anyone.

Recently, the BC Utilities Commission came to town and listened to customer feedback regarding Fortis’s request for approval from the Commission to install smart meters.

The Commission’s mandate is that it (and I quote): “oversees the regulation of energy utilities to ensure that the rates charged are fair, just and reasonable, and that utility operations provide safe and adequate service to their customers.”

Fortis is supposed to operate similar to a publicly-owned utility, which traditionally was non-profit. Fortis’s net earnings increased to $139 million in 2011.

So much for operating similar to a publicly owned, non-profit utility.

Fortis says the smart meters will save money. For who?

As Barrie Black noticed, utility rates have never gone down due to increased profits. The Commission must decide whether adding smart meters are “…fair, just and reasonable…” I’m sure that all the meter reading employees who will lose their jobs won’t think so.

With our economy flirting with another recession, laying off a huge number of people is not in the public’s best interest. If the commission can’t enforce that aspect alone, then our provincial politicians should.

D. Janko,

Kelowna

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