B.C. Liberals order independent Utility Commission to raise hydro rates

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VICTORIA – The independent B.C. Utility Commission is being forced to implement the Liberals’ hydro rate increases – making life less affordable for British Columbians, say the New Democrats.

“Once again, the Liberals are stripping independent government agencies of their ability to do their job of looking out for the best interests of ratepayers,” said New Democrat energy critic John Horgan. “Instead, the Liberals prefer to issue heavy handed edicts that make life less affordable for British Columbians.”

“This time it’s their massive increase to hydro rates that will make customers pay $477 more on their bills over the next three years.”

Special orders issued Thursday force the BCUC to implement the Liberals’ hydro rate increases “for fiscal 2015 and 2016 at 9 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.” The orders also set into stone the Liberal plan to continue raiding money from the utility while they make B.C. families pay more.

“The Liberals’ hydro hike is on top of a flood of other hidden tax hikes discovered in Premier Clark’s budget,” said Horgan. “The Liberal budget makes families pay $400 more for Medical Service Premiums. The Liberals also will be taking in $162 million more in revenue from coastal communities and businesses who rely on ferries.”

Horgan said whether it’s through hydro rates, MSP, or other fee and fare hikes, families across B.C. are paying the price for Liberal mismanagement.

“Before the election the Liberals cancelled public rate hearings and continued to tell British Columbians that they had the situation under control. Now we know they never did,” said Horgan.

“If the Liberals allowed the BCUC to do their job in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Instead, the Liberals robbed them of their powers to oversee countless expensive private power contracts, the massive Site C project, and the billion dollar smart meter mess.”