Dan Ruskin dam.

ELECTION 2017: What’s up with BC Hydro rates?

B.C. party leaders are making conflicting promises on utility rates

Second in a series of Black Press B.C. election coverage leading up to May 9.

One of NDP leader John Horgan’s promises for the May 9 election is a “freeze” on BC Hydro rates. Here’s a closer look at BC Hydro rates under the BC Liberals and what the effects might be to reining them in.

WATCH: NDP to freeze Hydro rates if elected

The BC Liberals took political control over BC Hydro rates after Christy Clark became party leader, held rates down until after the 2013 election, and then hiked them by nine per cent in 2014 and six per cent in 2015.

The current plan is to increase rates a total of 28 per cent in five years, in the first half of a 10-year-rates plan imposed by former energy minister Bill Bennett. It mandates increases of four per cent this year (already in effect as an interim rate since last spring), 3.5 per cent in 2018 and three per cent in 2019.

Average monthly household BC Hydro rates

Average monthly BC Hydro billsCreate column charts

After that, the BC Liberals have promised to turn decisions for rate increases back over to the independent BC Utilities Commission.

Horgan has railed for years about political interference in BC Hydro rates, but his proposed freeze amounts to the same thing. The BC Liberal plan also weans the government off the “dividend” that provincial governments have taken since the NDP years, starting this year and reducing it to zero by 2022.

In some years, BC Hydro has had to borrow more to pay the finance ministry its cut. BC Liberals also point to the 1990s NDP government’s BC Hydro rate freeze, and the lack of upgrades to the system during that time.

READ: BC Liberals stand pat with platform

Currently, the John Hart dam at Campbell River and the Ruskin Dam near Mission are being upgraded to make them earthquake resistant, and further billion-dollar turbine expansions are underway at newer dams in the Kootenays.

NDP energy critic Adrian Dix said last year BC Hydro should have added a sixth turbine at Revelstoke Dam for $450 million before embarking on the $9 billion Site C dam, the third on the Peace River.

WATCH: Work begins on Site C generators

Premier Christy Clark visited a Site C concrete contractor and toured the Peace region early in the campaign, to showcase the 2,100 people working on site and argue for growing clean energy needs.

“Under the NDP, Site C would be dead,” Clark told supporters. “Under the Greens, it would be deader.”

 

@tomfletcherbc

tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blaze takes commercial building in Louis Creek Industrial Park

Firefighters, paramedics and RCMP from Barriere and Chu Chua were on scene

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Bear sightings continue in District of Clearwater

One bear was seen taking a lounge in a resident’s backyard

Orange Shirt Day

To the Editor, Since May, 2013, in British Columbia when Orange Shirt… Continue reading

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read