Industrial and Commercial Electricity Customers Get a Break, But None for Low-Income People
For immediate release
February 21, 2017
VICTORIA – The BC budget may be offering industrial and commercial electricity customers a break by cutting the PST on skyrocketing BC Hydro rates, but there’s no such relief for low-income ratepayers, said MoveUP, the union that represents the utility’s inside employees.
“This fits with Christy Clark’s track record,” said MoveUP President David Black. “The BC Liberals find solutions for corporations, but ignore the needs of real people. Industry gets a lifeline, but people in need don’t.”
Along with the BC Public Interest and Advocacy Centre, MoveUP has been advocating for a “lifeline” rate for low-income people. Seniors, students, and other people on fixed- and low-incomes are vulnerable to having their Hydro rates balloon past their ability to pay. A lifeline rate, employed in other jurisdictions like Manitoba and California, would protect those people.
The BC Utilities Commission recently decided it was outside of the Commission’s jurisdiction to order BC Hydro to offer a lifeline rate.
“It’s well within Christy Clark’s power to offer those people help,” said Black. “She could easily direct BC Hydro to lower the bills for people in need. Instead there are tax breaks for corporations and tax breaks for B.C.’s wealthiest.”
“Rates are rising in part because the BC Liberals have massively increased the debt in BC Hydro,” said Black. “And they’re not interested in fixing their mistakes.”
MoveUP represents 12,000 public and private sector workers in utilities, finance, insurance, education, IT, transit, transportation and other sectors across Western Canada.
Sage Aaron, MoveUP Communications Director