Time to give two-tier rate the boot

Time to give two-tier rate the boot

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FortisBC – you either love them or hate them. You love them for providing all that power for your appliances and online addiction. You hate them for their continued rate increase applications that the BC Utilities Commission rubber stamps as often as you blink (and as quickly too).

Thankfully, Area C director Terry Schafer and alternate Rick Knodel are still fighting the controversial two-tier rate system, which has financially crippled a lot of customers.

This fall, FortisBC will submit an electricity rate design application to the commission to determine how customers will be billed for their electricity usage.

Public feedback has resulted in several potential options for future rate design, such as reducing the difference between the two rates within the existing two-tiered rate system, returning to a single rate for residential customers, and time-of-use rates.

When you look at FortisBC’s reports on rate structures, it’s rather confusing, enough to boggle the mind of the average Joe, some of whom don’t want to deal with it and just pay up. What else can they do? If you don’t pay, you get your power shut off.

Let’s hope some compromise is reached so that customers, especially on fixed incomes, no longer have to suffer under a company that holds a lot of “power.”

Our hats off to people who are going solar in the South Okanagan in order to save energy costs and the environment.

One such person is Maurice Nunas, who installed a 7.28 kilowatt system to offset power from his all-electric home.

For Nunas, buying solar panels and saving on electricity bills turns out to be a better return than keeping his money in the bank.

The resident says he is often in FortisBC’s tier 2 rate scheme, so going solar since April has meant his bills are virtually zero.

“To me it’s a no-brainer. If you’ve got the money, you should go for it,” Nunas says.

While FortisBC is often maligned, its crews deserve much accolades for helping restore power in Turks and Caicos in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Two crewmembers from the South Okanagan, including one from Oliver, have been working in very hot and hazardous conditions to restore power to these battered islands. They were quick to volunteer when they heard about the devastation that was caused in these areas.

We are proud of FortisBC workers who are not only committed to restoring power locally, but to helping people in crisis overseas.

Lyonel Doherty, editor

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