Communications re: Fortis…Message from Mark McKenney

Dear Anarchist & Sidley residents,

Many of you were at our meeting with our Member of the Legislative Assembly, Linda Larson on Thurs. December 18th. In all, about 45 people attended the meeting which was a good show of our concern over Fortis’ electricity pricing structure. Ms. Larson sent me a note, which is included below (under my note to her) in this post. Also in this post is my response to Linda, pointing out that in our view we were very respectful of her and suggesting how we might move forward.   If you have any comments send me your thoughts.

Mark McKenney, President
Anarchist Mountain Community Society
324 Grizzly Place
Osoyoos, BC , Canada
V0H 1V6

—–Original Message—–

From: Mark McKenney []

Sent: December-23-14 4:14 PM

To: ‘Larson, Linda’

Subject: RE: Fortis

Hello Linda,

Thanks for your note of last Friday, following our community meeting with you.

We appreciate you joining us for a discussion on Fortis’ two tier pricing structure.  The very reason why residents ask for community meetings with their elected officials is to discuss issues that are of importance to them.  The rate structure issue certainly falls into that category. From our perspective we didn’t see the meeting as a “venue to vent” but one can’t have a community meeting without some emotion rising to the discussion. I suppose that goes with the territory of being an MLA, and meeting with your constituents.

I also hope that you recognize as I clearly said at the end of the meeting that our community recognizes your efforts to do something about this, and that we see you as our ally and representative, not an adversary. It is encouraging that you mentioned that Fortis has been supporting your efforts at the BCUC to get that Commission to act. Fortis’ public stance on this issue has been ambivalent at best and, on occasion, they have made misleading statements in defense of this pricing system.

I disagree with your comment that “we were not interested in what has been and is being done and this was not a venue where anyone was prepared to listen”. We did hear your message but we also heard you say that the BCUC hasn’t been willing so far to act to resolve the problem. All Commissions are created by government so there is a connection back to the incumbent government.  Our analysis suggests that the rate structure places an economic incentive on the majority of Fortis customers to use more energy, not less. This indicates to us that the public policy benefits of this structure are out of sync with the objectives of your government on energy conservation. We want to offer Minister Bennett and the BCUC solutions to structure economic incentives to reduce energy use, within an equitable rate structure.

Our core position is that the RCR was improperly designed and is not meeting the objectives of the BC Energy Plan. Additionally the RCR is discriminatory in that it penalizes customers with no access to natural gas. The ultimate judge of the effectiveness of the RCR to meet the Energy Plan rests with the Minister of Energy. In the event that Mr. Bennett can be informed by us of our analysis, and should he agree with the merits of our argument, Mr. Marty would be willing to meet with the BCUC as an outside expert on energy conservation and efficiency initiatives, to set out our arguments. His presentation would be about the technical arguments concerning an appropriate design of the RCR, with a view of improving it. We believe that the RCR can be fixed and it can be redesigned to better fit with the objectives of BC’s energy policies.

We suggest that you, Minister Bennett, Nick Marty & I meet sometime in the New Year. We would be willing to travel to Penticton or Kelowna to meet with you and Mr. Bennett. This would allow the Minister to fly in and out without additional travel to our area.   Please let us know a date and location to meet with you and Mr. Bennett.

Mark McKenney, President
Anarchist Mountain Community Society
324 Grizzly Place
Osoyoos, BC , Canada

—–Original Message—–

From: Larson, Linda []

Sent: December-19-14 3:17 PM


Subject: Fortis


I have spoken to Minister Bennett with a follow up promised for after the Holidays.

I appreciate the concern of your Community with the unfairness of the two tiered system as it is currently applied.

I would have been happy to sit down with you and Nick to discuss your ideas and to move them forward with exactly what I promised at your Community meeting. I can appreciate that perhaps you needed a venue to vent but I can assure you it was unnecessary to use me personally or as the MLA to get your point across as it was obvious you were the spokesperson and had pre-arranged your very pointed statements.

I don’t often attend this type of meeting as they usually, as this one did, become a primary Government bashing exercise with very little in the way of positive steps moving forward.

I will continue to work on behalf of all the people in this Riding affected by this billing system and I will try to get Nick as a presenter to the BCUC the next time they meet.

Fortis has not been fighting our efforts but has been supporting us at the BCUC to get them to change their minds. It was obvious from your meeting that you were not interested in what has been and is being done and this was not a venue where anyone was prepared to listen.

As soon as I get more information in January I will pass it on. In the meantime if you would do what I originally asked you before the meeting to compile a petition or letter with everyone’s names on it I could have already submitted that with the request for Nick’s participation.

Linda Larson
Sent from my iPad