You’ll recall that we had a community meeting with our MLA, Linda Larson on December 18th to discuss the unfair Fortis electricity rate structure.
Many of you have signed our electronic petition, and if you haven’t please do so at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/bcuc-must-end-its-discriminatory-electricity-pricing-against-rural-customers.html. So far we have 376 signatures and we’re getting more every day. Ask your friends and acquaintances to sign it as well.
Ms. Larson contacted Mr. Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy & Natural Resource on our behalf, requesting a meeting with the Minister. Mr. Bennett called me back personally. Below is my reply to the message that he left for me. We hope that our continued pressure can get the BC government to act to order changes in Fortis’ unfair electricity rate structure. We will keep you informed.
Mark McKenney, President, Anarchist Mountain Community Society
Dear Minister Bennett,
Thank you for the telephone message that you left for me while I was traveling in the US on business last week. It’s clear to me from your comments on the voice message that you understand that the Fortis Two-Tier pricing formula is a significant burden on many BC residents that have no options to heat their homes other than with electricity.
We believe that the Residential Conservation Rate (RCR), as approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), 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 RCR, however, penalizes those who use electricity for space and water heating (primarily rural residents who have no access to natural gas) even though their high electricity consumption has nothing to do with their level of energy efficiency. Resident’s electricity rates in our area have increased 50% over the last 2 1/2 years on virtually all the electricity consumed for heating purposes. The resulting revenue is essentially a subsidy to urban residents (i.e. those who use natural gas for space and water heating) in the form of lower electricity rates, encouraging them to consume more electricity. This is clearly not the desired outcome of the BC Energy Plan.
Our residents want to work with your office and Ministry and, if necessary, with the BCUC, to help design a pricing structure that is effective, equitable and meets BC’s conservation goals. One of our residents, Mr. Nick Marty was a senior policy advisor in the federal government and has extensive expertise in the development and implementation of energy policy. Nick is willing to represent our residents in offering our suggestions to correct the design flaws in the RCR.
We would be happy to meet with your officials to discuss how to move forward on this issue. Please have your staff contact me to arrange further discussions.