Regional director seeks accountability from Fortis B.C. and the Utilities Commission

Electoral Area “D” Director Tom Siddon wants the regional district board to speak to provincial cabinet ministers about escalating Fortis rates and the accountability of the B.C Utilities Commission at the upcoming Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.

(STEVE ARSTAD /InfoTel Multimedia)

June 18, 2015 – 8:05 PM

PENTICTON – A South Okanagan politician continues his campaign to make Fortis B.C. and the B.C. Utility Commission more accountable to the public for rate increases.

Regional District South Okanagan-Similkameen director Tom Siddon has requested questions about Fortis B.C.’s two-tiered electrical rate system and the Commision’s accountability be added to the agenda of the next Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.

The two-tiered rate structure, introduced in 2012, increased the cost of electricity after the first 1,600 kilowatts used in a billing period.

Siddon has said in the past the two-tiered rate system is an issue for many of his constituents in Electoral Area “D” who are often on fixed incomes and live in places which are not energy efficient and have electricity as the sole heating source.

The issue came up again at the regional district’s board meeting, June 18, in response to a suggestion the directors advocate for a provincial energy retrofit subsidy for replacing old windows with more energy efficient units.

Siddon says many of the people in his area can’t afford to put in better windows.

“The whole interface between the B.C. Utilities Commission, the provincial cabinet and the (regional district) board is important to me,” he says. “Who does the BC Utilities Commission, who are appointed by cabinet, who do they respond to?”

Siddon says the Utilities Commission’s public relations skills “are almost as bad as Fortis.”

He says the decisions made by the Commissioners are often only related to rates and profits for the entities they regulate.

“They don’t care a damn about how they affect people,” he says, adding those were the reasons he wants time with the minister at the B.C. Municipalities Covention in September.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015