Some people may not realize (or they forget) that the BC Utilities Commission directed FortisBC to implement the new residential conservation rate that caused all of this uproar.
FortisBC was only doing what it was told, yet people continue to wag their finger at the company.
This company has been taking a lot of heat for the controversial rate hikes, but why is the commission getting off lightly? The board has the final say on these increases and often approves them without a second glance.
We can assure you that the people who run FortisBC and the commission are not hurting for money. They don’t live from paycheque to paycheque, and they don’t need relatives to help them with their electrical bills. They simply can’t relate to the people they serve.
Only after much public outcry did FortisBC conduct a study to see how the new rate structure has impacted customers. The report includes options for modifying the rates, but that remains to be seen.
The study suggests there is a small decline in the use of electricity. No kidding after people’s bills skyrocketed. FortisBC says changes to the current rate in order to reduce electric heating bills would mean that customers with lower consumption would have higher bills. That doesn’t make any sense.
Something else that doesn’t make sense is the continued lockout of FortisBC workers. It’s time this contract dispute ended.
It is very disappointing that the second tentative agreement has been rejected by employees. They have been offered an 11.5 per cent wage increase (over five years), with their benefits left untouched. Not a bad increase, but the union says it’s not about the money, it’s about the concessions – for one thing, they argue the company has too much control over the four-day work week.
The union-company relationship is a funny thing. You could have a long and nasty strike, but when it’s all over, everyone goes back to work like nothing happened. How do they respect each other after all of that?
There is no doubt that without unions, companies would walk all over their employees. But sometimes unions can get overzealous and exert their power to the detriment of the patrons they serve.
As far as the rate hikes go, perhaps more people should be directing their concerns to the utilities commission, which should be held accountable for all of the increases it approves. In the meantime, we can continue to complain about the high cost of energy . . . or do like some people have done – turn to solar power – the wave of the future.