Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor


Commission should be elected by the public

The public depends on and pays for the electrical supply that we need. We respect those who provide this service, and they in turn, should be respectful.

Unfortunately our local service provider, FortisBC appears to consider only financial gain. They brag about a 40-year track record of raising dividends, while their customers reel under the load of ever-increasing electricity rates charged by this monopoly.

We dutifully conserve, and still pay more for less electricity, thanks to cleverly designed billing systems. Fortis revenues and profits climb to fund their voracious need for dividend increases.

When Fortis recently acquired CH Energy in upper New York State, New York Public Service Commission chairman Garry Brown warned Fortis to avoid looking at the local utility as a profit-generating holding.

“Get to know New York,” he advised Fortis. “The way you may do things, business, elsewhere is not New York.” This is a probable reference to Fortis’s controversial record of dam-building in Belize, power line project in the South Okanagan and electricity rate increases in both areas. We can’t afford this, FortisBC.

Fortis’s profit has grown 85 per cent in the last five years, while sales volume has essentially stayed flat. On top of the 105 million dollars spent to overbuild the power line that has destroyed property values and increased public safety risk along prime lake view bench lands, another 500 million dollars is being spent to build the 345 MW Waneta dam for power we don’t need.

Now that the CH Energy purchase did not measure up to their profit expectations, are we supposed to kick in more to pay for that too? The public interest is being steam-rolled by Fortis and a compliant BC Utilities Commission (BCUC). Fortis has been granted a monopoly, a privilege that comes with responsibilities, not a right to abuse ratepayers.

The question for many families is becoming, “Shall we buy food or pay the Fortis power bill?”

The Fortis monopoly shows a profit of 85 percent, none of which seems to be coming back to the ratepayers. Fortis profits. We pay!

Unfortunately, we have no voice to protect the public. BCUC is politically appointed by those who think we can’t think for ourselves – and we stupidly elected them. We are led to believe that these recently elected provincial neophytes could conduct the public’s business in an unbiased attitude, and hopefully, to understand our concerns of safety and freedom, from possible corporate persecution. Unfortunately, they appear to be part of the problem.

This uncontrolled, careless spending by Fortis is promoting “gentrification” (the controlled squashing of the working people and the poor in our society).

We obviously do not seem to have any voice for public protection from overbearing corporations.

In my opinion, the BC Utilities Commission should be elected by the public. Perhaps we might have responsible, transparent decisions that are fair to both sides of  utility concerns, and perhaps prevent corporate persecution.


Flo Winfrey, Ollala


Customer questions big corporation etiquette

We have been Dairy Queen customers for a long time. Most every Friday we have hamburgers at the DQ in Osoyoos. We have discovered that they sell sundaes for half price in their freezer display case.

We buy them and by the time we get to Oliver they are just right for eating. We had burgers recently and purchased two sundaes. When we got home we opened them, and as we were eating them my husband pulled out what appeared to be a paper towel in the strawberry sundae. It was gross!

I phoned the health people because I did not know where that towel had been before it appeared in the sundae. I left a message at DQ for the manager to phone because I was not impressed. They did not return my call. I reported the incident to DQ online.

I phoned the DQ next day and told the manager what happened. She said to me “I made those sundaes myself and that (the paper towel) did not happen.” I said, “Are you calling me a liar?” She responded, “ I did not say that.” Please draw your own conclusions.

I only wanted my sundae and my lunch replaced. But they can’t do it, as  it would be admitting to a mistake, which was likely just an accident. So think about this when patronizing your small local restaurants.

If you have a problem they go out of their way to make things right because they want you to come back. Big companies don’t care even if you are a long-time customer.

Marion Soames, Oliver