John Horgan: Hydro rate hikes due to Liberal mismanagement just the tip of the iceberg

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      The Liberal government has mismanaged B.C. Hydro and, as a result, hydro rates will continue to climb, affecting all British Columbians.

      The latest example of mismanagement is the Liberal government’s bungling of the Northwest Transmission Line project, resulting in a massive $342 million cost overrun.

      While Premier Christy Clark was quick to tell television cameras the colossal overrun won’t lead to a big spike in hydro bills for families across the province, her own energy minister Bill Bennett finally admitted the truth, saying, “everyone in government recognizes that rates are going to have to go up."

      The Northwest Transmission Line is an important project, and if it were managed by a fiscally competent government, the impact on B.C. families would be minimal. But the project is being managed by the Liberals—the same government that raids dividends each year from B.C. Hydro on profits that don’t exist.

      Hard-working ratepayers across B.C. will be the ones who end up paying for this latest Liberal foul-up through rate hikes that could be in the double digits. The Liberals' ongoing abuse of accounting tricks that hide billions in debt at B.C. Hydro combined with signing contracts to buy high-priced, low-value power will be major contributors to rate increases in the years to come.

      Families that are already living paycheque to paycheque—people working two or even three jobs in order to pay the bills—are going to feel the impact the most. Turning the heat off during the winter isn’t an option.

      The 84 percent cost overrun is a direct result of Liberal political interference.

      It was the Liberal government that prevented the B.C. Utilities Commission from scrutinizing the project plan in the first place.

      The commission is the independent body in B.C. that has a mandate to regulate electricity utilities and “ensuring that customers receive safe, reliable and non-discriminatory energy services at fair rates.”

      When the Liberals interfered with the commission doing its job, the government interfered with the best interests of the ratepayers, and the lack of oversight paved the way for the massive cost overrun.

      The result is looming rates hikes that will add to the long list of hidden taxes, fees, and increased rates that are already hammering family budgets.

      Ferry fares have gone up every single year since the Liberals “restructured” B.C. Ferries in 2003. Fares have shot up so high that ridership and earnings have plummeted.

      The B.C. Liberals have raised Medical Service Premium rates for five consecutive years (plus a massive 50 percent increase in 2002). Since 2001 they’ve increased MSP rates by 85 percent, or $736 per year for a family. 

      The B.C. Liberals have doubled university tuition fees since 2001.

      The Liberals introduced a new residential care rate structure in 2010 which raised rates for 75 percent of patients. A senior whose before-tax income is $22,000 will now be forced to pay close to an additional $2,000—or approximately 10 percent of net income—for long term care.

      And the Liberals have made it clear that things are about to get worse.

      Christy Clark’s new wheelchair tax, introduced just days after the election was over, is just the beginning.

      The fact is Christy Clark and the Liberals are poor managers of the economy and B.C. Hydro, even though they spend millions of taxpayer dollars on advertising campaigns that tell you otherwise.

      The post-election bill for that Liberal mismanagement will be arriving soon, and it will be landing in the mailboxes of hard working British Columbians.

      John Horgan is the B.C. New Democratic Party MLA for Malahat-Juan de Fuca and the B.C. NDP's energy critic.

      Comments

      12 Comments

      Argulion

      Jul 8, 2013 at 11:16am

      The education fund money the Liberals haven't given yet but the NDP was 'going' to take away has been delayed two years. Wonder what the excuse will be two years from now?

      The Liberals post-election budget is 50 million different than the pre-election budget. What will be the excuse when this budget is wrong?

      We're now being warned that BC Hydro rates will have to go up. Would that have anything to do with a billion dollar forced implementation of smart meters and/or the Liberal created Independent Power Producer contracts?

      When does the LNG bubble pop?

      gilbert marks

      Jul 8, 2013 at 11:59am

      So why weren't you burning the airwaves telling us this during the election John?

      Grant G

      Jul 8, 2013 at 12:26pm

      Adrian Dix, time for you to resign, you had your chance, you muxxled your own MLA`s during the election, you ran a one-man campaign, you knew better, you waffled, cow-towed, you wimped out, you failed badly Adrian Dix and now you must fall on your sword, resign today.

      John Horgan is the only choice for leader, he`s a great speaker, smart, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, John Horgan is not a Ex-union head like George Heyman..John Horgan won`t be labeled an alternative lifestyle man like Mike Farnworth would be..

      Adrian Dix, resign as leader, Farnworth, you are a good man but there are too many haters in this province for a gay leftie to be elected leader, the media will get you.

      John Horgan, a man of grit and integrity.

      Cheers

      Dave

      Jul 8, 2013 at 12:33pm

      All very true but the ignorant sheeple of BC deserve this for voting the Liberals back in

      Rain

      Jul 8, 2013 at 2:23pm

      Time based billing implemented through the smart meters is the answer.

      This way poor people can buy their electricity cheaper at off-peak hours. Everyone wins!

      So what if they have to eat dinner at 10pm - at least they get to eat and they should be thankful for that.

      Corporations and rich people should have the right to demand the poor subsidize their energy usage during peak times - because they create all the jobs and the poor should be thankful for that.

      After all... trickle down economics works - despite the evidence that all metrics, studies, data, & real life observations state otherwise.

      And to all you lefties out there... if you want to eat dinner at a reasonable time - work harder. Stop being lazy and get that 3rd job. Your children that you never see and are forced to hand over to the government - will thank you.

      Susan

      Jul 8, 2013 at 6:32pm

      So were sure Harper doing a lot of secret hand shake with the Crazy Puppet Obama.

      Steve B.

      Jul 8, 2013 at 9:38pm

      Like the old adage goes: You get the government you deserve.

      Arthur Vandelay

      Jul 9, 2013 at 6:05am

      @Steve B - in the late 90's we got the Clark/Dix/Sihota government. Nobody deserved that government.

      Pat Crowe

      Jul 9, 2013 at 9:37am

      After this last election debacle I have given up and joined the majority of British Columbians as an apathetic non voter. Here's my wallet...help yourselves. Thank you sir, may I have another.