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http://theprovince.com/opinion/erin-pritchard-and-seth-klein-when-lng-plants-get-a-special-deal-on-hydro-rates-who-pays

LNG plants get special deal on Hydro, not the people who need it

Published:December 15, 2016
Updated:December 19, 2016 12:15 PM PST
Filed Under:
B.C. Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald, left, speaks to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark after she announced the province's climate action plan at the still under construction Carbon Capture and Conversion Institute, in Richmond on Friday August 19, 2016.
B.C. Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald and Premier Christy Clark. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS
It’s always telling to see who in our province is able to win special treatment from the B.C. government.
The B.C. Utilities Commission is currently reviewing residential B.C. Hydro rates, something they do periodically. As part of that process, the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre, on behalf of numerous organizations representing low-income British Columbians and seniors on fixed incomes, has spent the last two years trying to win a special discounted B.C. Hydro rate for low-income people. In the face of steeply rising electricity rates, many low-income people have been finding it increasingly hard to pay their bills.
It’s been a painstaking process, a slow and expensive endeavour. B.C. Hydro has actively argued against such a discounted rate for low-income people despite the relatively modest cost of what is being sought. The minister of energy and mines has been dismissive of low-income bill affordability measures, stating simply that the rates are already affordable.
It turns out, however, that the provincial government is more than willing to direct B.C. Hydro to offer special discounted rates — as long as the discounts are for the liquefied natural gas industry.
On Nov. 4, the Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish became the first LNG proposal to move forward to a final investment decision. At the same time, the government and B.C. Hydro announced that in order to entice a final investment decision from Woodfibre LNG, a reduced electricity rate — called the “eDrive rate” — would be provided to LNG proponents who use B.C. Hydro electricity to power their liquefaction.
This creates a significant subsidy for these businesses – estimated at $34 million per year for the Woodfibre plant, and up to $860 million over the life of the facility. And if other larger LNG plants move forward, the cost of this subsidized LNG Hydro rate will be even greater. Notably, this special discount has been exempt from review by the B.C. Utilities Commission.
This decision speaks volumes about the government’s priorities. They are more than willing to offer a reduced electricity rate to the LNG industry but have resisted giving a break to the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Residential electricity rates in B.C. have risen 51 per cent over the last 11 years and are on track to rise an additional 30 per cent over the next eight years. And rates will continue to rise sharply after that if B.C. Hydro proceeds with multi-billion-dollar projects like the Site C dam, which the government has also conveniently exempted from full public review by the B.C. Utilities Commission.
Over this same period, social-assistance rates have remained virtually stagnant and minimum wages and average earnings have not increased by nearly the same amount as electricity rates. Low-income residents have no spare money to pay for continually rising electricity costs and, increasingly, have to make impossible choices between basic necessities like electricity, food and medicine.
During the recent review of B.C. Hydro’s rate design, the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre advanced proposals designed to offset the impact of electricity rate increases on the poorest people in the province. These proposals include a discounted electricity rate, a crisis intervention fund and more flexible payment arrangements for people facing disconnection.
These proposals are modest and would offer relief to many who are struggling to keep the heat and lights on in their homes while having a negligible impact on other ratepayers. For example, if every eligible low-income resident applied for and received the discounted rate, which is unlikely, the cost would be roughly $27 million annually — less than the annual subsidy just extended to Woodfibre LNG. If the cost were spread out over all other residential customers, the impact on monthly bills would be in the range of 50 cents each.
Over the past several years, Premier Christy Clark has sought to hang her hard hat on the promised economic benefits of the LNG industry, but it is unfair to ask low-income British Columbians to pay to realize this goal.
Erin Pritchard is a staff lawyer with the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Seth Klein is B.C. director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
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Julie Ali · 
It is very disturbing to see the BC government penalize the most vulnerable citizens in BC in this way. All citizens should think about the performance of Christy Clark and if the political party they voted for is living its values. Somehow I don't think that subsidizing business while denying the same subsidy to the poorest citizens is ethical behavour and really I don't think this behaviour will result in rehiring.
I have also noted the failures of Christy Clark's government to implement the findings and recommendations of the Representative for Children and Youth other than to pretend to he...See More
LikeReplyJust nowEdited
Mike Pasemko
How about giving those of us who have no option but to heat with electricity a break on when the higher rate kicks in? We don't have the option of not heating our homes in order to avoid paying the higher rate.
LikeReply2Dec 19, 2016 5:41pm
Nadene Morton · 
well we actually do..our clark the kitty just dismisses..
LikeReplyDec 19, 2016 6:57pm
Nadene Morton · 
Never, never, have i seen a goverment so arrogant and out of touch with the needs of its citizens, so useless.
LikeReply7Dec 19, 2016 6:52pm
Julie Ali · 
I have just read about Brad Wall and the CCS project in Saskatchewan. Christy Clark and Brad Wall seem to be very similar in their failure to represent the public interest. It appears that politicians of all political parties serve only their own interests and that of their political party. I believe that citizens need to fire the governing political party at every election to ensure that this sort of failure to represent us is not rewarded by the sort of oppressive dynasty that Alberta has experienced. Change is good. And ending the users' tenure is very satisfying. I encourage you all to vote out the folks who don't help the most vulnerable citizens in B.C.
In Saskatchewan, citizens are being screwed royally and I can't imagine how they could have voted for the Saskatchewan Party. Seems more like the Cenovus and Husky Oil Party to me.

https://www.saskwind.ca/boundary-ccs/

SaskPower Boundary Dam CCS: Financial Report & Analysis

https://www.saskwind.ca/blog.../2016/11/3/audit-boundary-ccs

Audit request re Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Scheme
In the twenty months since we produced our detailed financial analysis of the Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Scheme (BD3CCS) the Federal Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) produced their own report. It confirmed our conclusion: Carbon Capture at Boundary Dam doubles the price of electricity. In so doing, the PBO report again raised the question of why SaskPower proceeded with a project when it knew, or should have known, that it would needlessly add $1-billion of costs to the bills of electricity consumers province-wide.

Despite all this evidence and perhaps because the sole beneficiary of the project is an Alberta-based oil company which was the largest donor to the SaskParty in 2013 and 2014, SaskPower has refused to provide any form of financial accounting to justify the project. This is particularly troubling since Premier Wall recently appealed for $2-billion of federal funds to invest in more Carbon Capture projects (as well as nuclear). We are also concerned that, while public funds continue to be used to subsidise coal, wind energy will be disadvantaged in forthcoming tenders for new generation capacity.

Consequently today we wrote to the Provincial Auditor to request a full audit of BD3CCS.

http://www.leaderpost.com/husky.../12527542/story.html
Husky Energy to spend $1 billion on new heavy oil projects in Saskatchewan

http://www.cbc.ca/.../husky-energy-oil-spill-drinking...

Husky oil spill continues to affect cities' drinking water
Mayor of Prince Albert does not believe spill was a "sudden, one-time' event
LikeReply16 mins
RanD Hadland
Let's not forget the write down of electricity rates to the poor, mining companies of BC like Imperial Metals who couldn't afford to avoid spilling their tailings pond into Quesnel Lake. Good on the Public Interest Advocacy Center for bringing this up. Rather than reduced rates though people who need help should be part of an increased Hydro conservation effort to reduce their costs. We definitely don't need to be giving huge or any subsidies to industries of any sort.
UnlikeReply8Dec 19, 2016 7:43pm
Julie Ali · 
Why on earth is Christy Clark's party in power in BC? When you have such a poor work record by a political party they should be fired. In Alberta, we finally got rid of the incompetent PCs. We will be getting rid of the even more incompetent NDP. It is a problem that we cannot get good political help. But certainly changing the tablecloth of the political party on the fixed as concrete GOA limits some of the damage caused by parties that do not represent us.
LikeReply13 mins
Dave King
Hey folks, Christy Clark will do anything to bring her wet dream into reality!!!
LikeReply1Dec 20, 2016 1:41am
Julie Ali · 
Unless of course the citizens fire her and her MLAs.
LikeReply13 mins
Pat English
Use the cheque(remittance) that separates from the statement to discharge the debt. The people are the creditors after all, so claim the credit and discharge the debt with the credit that tears off the bottom of each statement.
Martin Cavin
Hydro used to give a discount to residential users with electric heat, but no more. They are now penalized with the Tier 2 rate which is over 12.5 cents a kWh. Builders install electric baseboard heaters in low-income housing as they have the lowest up-front cost. Then low-income residents who can least afford it are stuck with high heating bills. The incremental cost of Tier 2 electricity is 4 times that of nat. gas. Meanwhile the Liberals give cheap power to LNG export terminals for using electricity instead of gas. The rate is less than half the Tier 2 residential rate. Why aren't BC residents similarly rewarded? So much for putting BC families first.

Electric heating is the worst kind of load for Hydro as it increases its peak loads which occur during the winter. Extra generators and transmission equipment have to be installed to meet these peaks, and this equipment sits idle 90% of the time. Hydro would save a lot of money by providing incentives for builders to install gas furnaces instead of electric heat, but Hydro is prohibited from doing so under the Liberals Clean Energy Act. With all of the political meddling no surprise Hydro's debt grows by billions despite hefty rate increases for residents.
UnlikeReply5Dec 20, 2016 1:18pm
Tom Baker · 
So we are paying for her to sell our LNG,at the same time B.C .hydro is cutting power to people that have lived here for decades,give your head a shake.
LikeReply11 hr
G Barry Stewart · 
Respected blogger and retired accountant, Norman Farrell has shown us that the natural gas revenues are a natural disaster, due to the royalty credits Ms. Clark's government has been passing out. With money-losing subsidies at the mining and shipping ends of the LNG resource... what are we gaining from this experiement?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to simply hire people to walk our sidewalks with sandwich boards, advertising "BC Jobs Plan"?

https://in-sights.ca/.../something-is-rotten-in-the.../
LikeReply1 hr
Julie Ali · 
Thank you for the link. Why isn't this information in the newspapers?
LikeReply10 mins
Trish Woodward · 
We've had the Liberals for 4 terms and NOW you're outraged? You've got to joking!
LikeReply1 hr
Bruce McWilliam · 
When some get to pay less - everyone else has to pay more
"It turns out, however, that the provincial government is more than willing to direct B.C. Hydro to offer special discounted rates — as long as the discounts are for the liquefied natural gas industry.
On Nov. 4, the Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish became the first LNG proposal to move forward to a final investment decision. At the same time, the government and B.C. Hydro announced that in order to entice a final investment decision from Woodfibre LNG, a reduced electricity rate — called the “eDrive rate” — would be provided to LNG proponents who use B.C. Hydro electricity to power their liquefaction."
LikeReply1 hr


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