Leaked BC Hydro Document Points to Massive Rate Hikes
September 11, 2013
The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (MoveUP) has released a leaked internal BC Hydro document which outlines the depth of the corporation’s financial problems, clearly pins the causes of those problems on failed Liberal policies, and predicts how the BC Liberals will try to politically navigate the coming steep rate increases.
“This is an explosive document,” said MoveUP’s Legal Director Jim Quail. Quail also serves as the union’s representative at the BC Utilities Commission. “BC Hydro ratepayers like you and me are looking at a heavy hit next year – a 19 per cent hike. For the last twelve years the BC Liberals mismanaged the Hydro file nearly beyond belief, and ratepayers will pay the price.”
The document is an Aug 23, 2013 presentation to the Rates Working Group, a high-level group of decision makers that includes BC Hydro CEO Charles Reid and senior government officials.
“There’s so much here that proves government mismanagement it’s hard to pick a starting point,” said Quail. “There’s the fact that by putting off a rate increase before the election Christy Clark ensured Hydro customers will pay an extra 16 per cent more that could have been avoided. There are the mounting costs of private power contracts – contracts the government is now scrambling to get out of.”
“And despite all of this, the government’s siphoning off money from BC Hydro to the tune of 27 per cent of its total revenue requirement by 2016, instead of letting the utility balance its own books,” he added. “That means that of every $100 customers pay, $27 will go straight to the provincial treasury.”
The document points out that if all other costs were stabilized, BC Hydro’s operational costs (salaries for union and management employees, maintenance of its facilities, etc.) would impact rates only by 0.5 per cent over the two years.
“Most cynically, the rate hike arc has been managed so rates will be lowest just in time for the next election. They are actually planning on repeating what they did last time, suppressing rates before we go to the polls, hoping we all have short memories,” said Quail. “It’s disappointing but believable that the architects of this disaster care more about their political image than the long-term health of BC Hydro.”
MoveUP represents approximately 1,900 inside workers at BC Hydro.
Attachments: the BC Hydro Rates Working Group presentation has notes which refer to the annotations document. The notes and annotations were supplied by Jim Quail.
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