BC Liberals Continue Use Crown Corporations to Prop Up Budget



February 19, 2013

BC Liberals Continue Use Crown Corporations to Prop Up Budget

VICTORIA – The BC Liberals are using BC Hydro and ICBC to help prop up their budget, says the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, local 378 (MoveUP), which represents employees at both Crown Corporations. 

The practice is particularly damaging to BC Hydro. The public utility is piling up debt which will balloon from $14.4 billion in 2012 to $18.8 billion in 2015. This includes the infamous deferral accounts, which were sharply criticised by Auditor General John Doyle.

The government’s documents notes private power is expected to rise from 20 per cent to 25 per cent of BC Hydro’s overall supply, adding further burden to BC Hydro’s contractual obligations.

“I wish I could say I’m surprised,” said MoveUP President David Black. “But this continues a long pattern of mismanagement. BC Hydro was our Crown jewel but twelve years of BC Liberal interference has left it badly tarnished.”

Despite the pressures on BC Hydro, the government is still taking a dividend of $224 million this year, which will come straight from the pockets of Hydro customers.

“Hydro rates are going up about six per cent this year, and about the same amount next year,” continued Black. “If rates are going up that money should go to service BC Hydro’s debt, not to help the government reach a supposed balanced budget in an election year.”

Despite a hasty “review” of BC Hydro’s operations a year ago the Crown utility continues to rack up costly consultants and contractors.

It’s not just Hydro rates heading upwards. ICBC premiums went up on average 11.6 per cent for mandatory insurance in 2012.

After foregoing revenues from ICBC in 2012, the BC Liberals are resuming their raid on B.C. drivers’ wallets. The government will take $226 million from insurance premiums in 2013, $176 million in 2014, and $136 million in 2015, totalling half a billion dollars over three years.

“There’s nothing in this budget for people to get excited about,” concluded Black. “Instead of offering solutions to ratepayers, the BC Liberals are continuing business as usual. If they wanted to show a fresh face to voters, they failed.”

 

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Media Contact:

Communications Director Sage Aaron, 604-317-6153, saaron@moveuptogether.ca