Letter to the Editor

Two-tier electricity pricing not working

"A correct two-tier pricing system would encourage all customers to conserve electricity and only raise the bills of those who failed"

As your rural readers experience another winter of exorbitant electricity bills, they should be aware that the main reason they are suffering is that the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), in 2012, approved a two-tier pricing system that was incorrectly designed.

A correct two-tier pricing system would encourage all customers to conserve electricity and only raise the bills of those who failed to act.  The one approved by the BCUC for Fortis only encourages 8 per cent of customers to conserve (i.e. primarily rural residents who use electricity for space and water heating because they have no access to natural gas) by raising their electricity rates by 42 per cent.  Most of the resulting revenue is then transferred to urban residents (i.e. those who use natural gas for space and water heating) in the form of lower electricity rates.  As a result, the so-called “conservation rate” is actually encouraging the majority of Fortis’ customers (i.e 68.5 per cent) to consume more electricity.

There is a petition requiring that the BCUC immediately fix the design of their so-called conservation rate.  If they refuse, once again, to do so; the Government of BC is petitioned to instruct them to make the necessary changes so that it no longer discriminates against rural customers and actually encourages all customers to conserve electricity as required by the BC Energy Plan.  The petition, and further information on this issue, can be accessed at: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/bcuc-must-end-its-discriminatory-electricity-pricing-against-rural-customers.html

Nicholas Marty

Osoyoos

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