Fortis rate increases continue unabated

"The facts are, rate increases started immediately upon purchase of the company and in many years there has been multiple increases."

Your Dec. 29 news story of Fortis trying to justify yet another  rate increase to our electrical bill (“Electricity rates set to go up again in 2016,” Trail Times, Dec. 29) was very interesting, left out and what they failed to say is also very interesting .

“A slight trending rate increase started in 2013.”

The facts are, rate increases started immediately upon purchase of the company and in many years there has been multiple increases.

Fortis’ present electrical rates are 16 per cent higher than BC Hydro’s for the same electrical consumption per bill (Fortis $104.45; Hydro $89.70).

If Fortis is granted the present increase requested, our two tier electrical rate will be parallel or higher than Nova Scotia, that presently has the highest rate in Canada.

Amy Bunton, Fortis communications advisor said in the story;  “In the Kootenays, for example, upgrades to our four generating stations to ensure long-term, low-cost power for our customers.”

For 10+ years Fortis has billed customers for the $150 million upgrade to generators on the Kootenay River.

Since completion of upgrades to the 11 units there has been two major generator failures and ratepayers have been denied access to the cause, or who will pay for the major expenditures required to get them back on line.

Strangely the public utilities commission has granted Fortis their request for confidentiality on the whole situation. What do they have to hide?

The article also presented the $51 million advance metering expenditure for justification for yet another rate increase.

Fortis’ publicly stated; “There will be no charge to the utility customers for the installation of smart meters as a result of their efficiency,  elimination of meter readers and the elimination of  leakage,” which means  catching thief of power.

The article further states there will be a $13 million return to ratepayers as a result of the smart meter installations.

The article concludes with; “FortisBC is a regulated utility that works with the British Colombia utilities commission to determine rates.”

In my 15+ years of participation in this process I do not recall Fortis not been given approval to their request to major increases to our power rates.

At the most recent hearing, Fortis had 25 of its senior staff present, with one spokesperson from the commission to question Fortis presentation. How is this for a fair hearing?

Fortis presently has a application before the Commission for a $75 million expenditure in Castlegar, that will result in relocation of the Warfield operations to Castlegar along with consolidation of others small entities .

This represents the loss of industrial assessment to Trail in excess of 60 high paid jobs.

Sadly there are no intervenors registered from Trail or the surrounding areas to question this expenditure and another increase to our electrical rates.

Norm Gabana

Trail

Just Posted

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

First Past the Post is the only option

Letter to the Editor by Dieter Bogs of Trail

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Most Read