By Lyonel Doherty
So FortisBC is finally proposing to do away with its two-tier conservation rate by reinstating the single, flat rate.
What took them so long? Floating dollar signs?
Well . . . if they get their way again with the BC Utilities Commission, there will be a five year phase-in period before the flat rate makes its glorious return.
Why five years and not one year? More floating dollar signs.
FortisBC says it’s a smoothing out period to lessen the impact on ratepayers. Sorry, but like some regional district board members, we don’t buy that rationale.
If FortisBC could usher in the unpopular two-tier rate so quickly, why can’t they reinstate the flat rate with the same haste?
FortisBC will tell you it’s complicated (more so than it has to be).
According to many electricity users, this two-tier rate crippled them financially, resulting in considerable opposition. Yet FortisBC refused to acknowledge that and continued to defend their rate structure.
(When you’re making a lot of money you tend to do that.)
While the transition back to the single flat rate is welcome news, waiting five years is not.
One of our readers seemed to hit the nail on the head when he said the reason FortisBC wants a phase-in period is “because any shorter duration will cut into the profit they’ve already calculated.”
Our advice to FortisBC is to save face and give ratepayers what they want – the return of the single flat rate within the year.
We would also advise the utilities commission to save face and approve FortisBC’s rate design application, minus the phase-in period.
For years the commission rubber-stamped rate hike applications by Fortis without questioning their validity. Now the authority owes it to the public to truly listen to how these rate schemes have impacted people’s lives.
Let’s hope the 240 testimonials from customers will play a big role in the decision this year.
If they don’t, democracy is dead.