MLA Dan Davies – Weekly Column – Reduction in hydro rates – don’t think so

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Speculation about a spring election suddenly spiked when John Horgan and the NDP went to great effort to announce a stunning decrease in hydro rates. Then reality sank in.

In an attempt to deliver on a promise to make life more affordable, NDP Energy Minister, Michelle Mungall, declared “I am thrilled that BC Hydro is now able to apply for a rate reduction for the first time in decades. If approved by our independent regulator, lower rates would make life better and more affordable for British Columbians.”

Upon closer inspection however, what appears to be a one percent decrease in 2020 actually translates into an overall rate hike of 6.2 percent over the next five years.

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This is NDP math at its finest.

What we are looking at is a yo-yo rate structure that would see a rate decrease of one percent in 2020, an increase of 2.7 percent in 2021, a 0.3 percent decrease in 2022, followed by another three percent increase in 2023. I’m not sure how a 6.2 percent increase translates into a rate cut, but then again this is not the first time the NDP has played with numbers over hydro rates.

Upon assuming office as newly-minted energy minister, Mungall proudly announced in 2017 the NDP would follow-through on its campaign promise to freeze rates through an application to the BC Utilities Commission. To Mungall’s misfortune, a press release announcing the rate freeze went out before the BCUC rejected her application and a planned three percent increase went ahead instead.

The NDP energy minister should take note of her previous misstep and remember that the BCUC still has to review her latest application to implement her proposed “rate reduction”.

Then again, consumers in B.C. will likely take so-called rate reduction promises with a grain of salt once the new ICBC premium rates take effect on September 1st.

I’ll have more to say about changes to ICBC rates very shortly.

In closing, school is back in session.  Please observe school zones and stop for buses when lights are flashing.

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