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NEWS RELEASE · 8th March 2010
The B.C. Liberals are trying to sneak through a 29 per cent electricity rate hike, demanding B.C. Hydro deliver an extra $254 million to government in the next year alone, New Democrat energy critic John Horgan said today.

“The day after a provincial budget that offered nothing for the B.C. economy beyond a new, damaging consumer tax in the HST, B.C. Hydro is applying to charge you an extra nine per cent this year on your hydro bill, with more to come over the next two years,” said Horgan, noting that Hydro applied for the increase with the B.C. Utilities Commission today.

“The government is trying to claim the increase is to pay for infrastructure upgrades, but that is only part of the story. The fact is, the B.C. Liberals are sneaking in what amounts to a tax increase by demanding that B.C. Hydro pay the government an extra $254 million this year, and B.C. Hydro has no choice but to pass on that increased cost to ratepayers.”

The provincial government’s three year fiscal plan, laid out in yesterday’s budget, calls for B.C. Hydro to increase electricity rates by 9.11 per cent this year, 12.92 per cent in 2011, and 4.81 per cent in 2012, which, compounded, amounts to a 29 per cent hike.

“Hydro rates are spiraling out of control. This year’s budget proposed another 29 per cent in rate increases over the next three years, which comes on top of rate increases of seven per cent each year since 2008,” said Horgan. “To make matters worse, the B.C. Liberals’ Clean Energy Act could make it easier for private power producers to negotiate lucrative contracts that gouge B.C. Hydro. Ultimately, this buy-high, sell-low export policy could bankrupt our public utility.”

While the B.C. Liberals claim to be lowering taxes, British Columbians are feeling the effects of increased fees and tax shifts. In addition to hydro rate hikes, the HST will cost consumers an extra $1.9 billion each year and MSP premiums are going up again on the heels of an increase last month.

Horgan noted that even though the rate increases have not yet been approved by the BCUC, the revenue assumptions in the B.C. Liberals’ budget include the 29 per cent rate hike.

“It’s just the latest budget lie from the B.C. Liberals. They’re basing their budget on hydro rate hikes that haven’t even been approved yet,” said Horgan. “It’s time to scrap the B.C. Liberals’ energy plan and start again with ratepayers’ interests first.”
Carole James and New Democrats have been holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for breaking their word on the HST, and for backtracking on their election promises to protect health care, education, and other vital services.
Comment by Gerry on 9th March 2010
Gordo and his Liberal pack of corporate butt kissing hyenas will go on gouging the electorate , BECAUSE WE LET THEM !! We seem to be quite willing to let them do whatever they please even though we have the power to recall them.

They have absolutely broken the back of every union in BC, they've let companies reduce their workforces to skeleton crews with no power and now with each new contract they negotiate they slowly take from the workers the very benefits that their union brothers fought for over so many years. Most of the workforce now works for bare minimum wage with no benefits or pensions.

They have reduced the forest industry to a raw log selling machine with a few fallers and truck drivers working ,all the processing jobs are done in China now. Today I witnessed 6 fully loaded logging trucks heading to Kitimat in a half hour drive to Terrace,Lumbermills and pulp/paper mills in this area of BC are all but gone.

They've let the natural gas companies rob their BC customers blind. When originally we were promised cheap rates because it was our gas.

They've let Forgein countries take over our natural resources for pittance and then sell them back to us for huge profits. How can a government legally sell a river to a corporation for life with no obligation to the people of this province??? this is not right. This is insanity! The BC liberal government have given corporations human rights that override the rights of citizens.

They tax and user fee the snot out of us, the HST is almost the last straw we can take! now that the big Olympic show is over it's time for the people of BC to pay and pay BIG we will.

So now why not increase our hydro rates people are so beat up by this government they have no fight left in them.

And the CTV olympic loving media just keeps pushing out this rosey government picture of just how wonderful things are, well they are wonderful, but only for the RICH. Gordo and his crew have got to go before they sell off anything we have left . For our childern and their childern I hope we come to our senses and recall these corporate loving criminals.
sue the B.C. government
Comment by Ron Savard on 8th March 2010
The B.C. Liberal government should be sued for failure to serve its electorate, for lying to the electorate (ie. HST) , and for conspiring with the markets to exploit its electorate, which is a conflict of interest case.