This is a rebuttal to Diane Roy, vice-president of regulatory affairs for FortisBC.
Ms. Roy is trying very hard to baffle gab the numbers so let’s take a look: If you are a first tier user your bill will run approximately $160 per month. Therefore, if the price was to raise by 10 per cent (that is the amount that those trapped in second tier have been subsidizing the first tier price) you would see a price increase of $16 per month. So yes, it is true that 90 per cent would see an increase. That would also put the price you are paying to what FortisBC claims the cost of residential power really is. This is confirmed by that being the flat rate cost charged as the farm flat rate or the true cost of the power per kWh (11.74 cents).
Now if you are one of the unlucky 5 per cent of the Fortis customer base living locally in, say, an older home or possibly a mobile home, you are probably finding it necessary to consume 8000 kWh or more just to sustain life in your home. The change to flat rate would drop an 8000 kWh power bill by approximately $200.
Now here is the part that Fortis is trying hard to misdirect you. As the two-tier system is revenue neutral to them, that $200 goes directly to subsidizing power rates to their predominantly natural gas customer base.
Now as their new ads state, “glad we hooked up to gas dear, and saved enough on power to get and operate that big screen TV” (slapping the two-tier users in the face). That is what makes calling it a conservation rate at best corrupt as it encourages the frivolous use of natural gas and rewards the hookup to natural gas service with an artificially low kWh electricity price. This encourages the excess use of electricity and Fortis controls both products further enriching this corporation. Therein are the hypothetical grounds for that deep pocketed class action case. Was the government of the day aware of this? Was the BCUC misled or were they aware of this? Alas, this will never happen despite the enormous social costs suffered by some.
Now to point out B.C. is 98 per cent serviced by hydroelectric generation, the cheapest power to produce and maintain. That is not being reflected in the price per kWh. But that is a point for the BCUC to justify.
There were a number of references made to the high priced homes on Anarchist Mountain. Smoke and mirrors on the part of Fortis to entice an emotional response. These represent a very small minority of the residents affected.
Most nonfarm rural homes are older homes owned by lower income, seniors or fixed income households. Without the resources of the Anarchist Mountain residents this intervention would not be possible.
Rick Knodel, alternate director, Area C