The shocking cost of electricity

In 2012 the cost of electricity will be very expensive.

In 2012 the cost of electricity will be very expensive. Fortis has filed another application to the B.C. Utilities Commission to find a way to increase your power rates once again.

This is called Residential Inclining Block Rates. This will hurt anyone with electric heat.  Customers who have electric heat would not be in a lower rate even if you have a heat pump. The cost for higher use consumers could be any charge per kilowatt. Who knows what that might be?

Let’s compare with BC Hydro, Basic residential customer charge and energy charge: $0.14 per day; $0. 66 per kW

Fortis: $0.46 per day; $0.0909 per Kw

For example for 62 days @1000 kWs with BC Hydro would cost $66.00 power used plus $8.92 residential rate = $74.92.

Fortis rate for 62 days @1000 kWs is $90.90 power used plus $28.93 residential rate =$119.83 a difference of $44.91.

In May of 2003 the then Minister of Energy and Mines promised, as found the 2009 Fortis B.C. Rate Design and Cost Service Application, electricity rates will be set on a postage stamp basis. This means all customers within a particular class will receive the same rate, regardless of their location in the Province.

Further, in their decision the Commission Panel noted that Fortis BC. residential rate structure should more closely resemble the BC Hydro rate structure.

Therefore residents of the West Kootenay area should be entitled to have BC Hydro delivered to their households or have the same rates as BC Hydro.

A chart showing rate increases from Fortis for Jan. 1, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2011 show an increase of 35 per cent for electricity. The largest increase coming from Jan. 1, 2010 to Jan. 1, 2011 showing a 15.5 per cent increase. Bimonthly customer charges increased from $21.19 in Jan. 2006 to $28.93 in Nov. 2011

At least 60 per cent of the total power generated for British Columbia comes from the West Kootenay and Columbia area. BC Hydro has many more dams than Fortis such as Mica, Revelstoke, Kootenay Canal, Seven Mile, and a part of the Waneta dam. These dams benefit all of British Columbia except for the West Kootenay and the Okanagan area. Some Okanagan cities buy electricity from Fortis at wholesale rates.

Smart meters, once installed they say it will give you better service at a cost of approximately $40 million At the information meeting they were asked how they will pay for the new meters. The answer no more meter readers, reduced meter maintenance, power purchase reductions, reduce the cost of theft. There was no indication of how much the consumer is going to pay. Smart meters will be an invasion of our privacy (can tell when you’re home or away which may pose a security issue) and it may also pose a health hazard for those who have pace makers three or four times a day while they are transmitting information to Fortis on kilowatt usage. Fortis has not released any information as to the times of peak periods or the rates.  Will peak periods change per customer according to use. What will the rate be double, triple? I think Fortis should tell the consumer the facts.

We as consumers should be questioning the power of the B.C. Utilities Commission because it seems they are not acting on our behalf. Also write your MLA and the Minister of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum and voice your concerns.

Sid Crockett

Genelle