|Ex-Premier Gordon Campbell - April 2010 at Site C announcement - BC Hydro is dam trouble for BC Liberals - and especially Premier Christy Clark|
Bill Tieleman's 24 Hours/The Tyee column
Tuesday May 29, 2012
By Bill Tieleman
Last week Premier Christy Clark proved she is no different than former premier Gordon Campbell when it comes to not just breaking a promise, but blowing it to smithereens.
Clark's decision to to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is supposed to be an independent authority regulating BC Hydro electricity rates, was outrageous enough.
But Clark and Energy Minister Rich Coleman went much further than that, wrongly claiming they were actually keeping a promise to dramatically cut BC Hydro rate hikes and save consumers money.
Unlike most shell games though, you can see right through this one, if you look hard enough.
"I told British Columbians I was going to wrestle that rate increase down. I'm keeping my promise!" Clark boasted.
Thank goodness Christy and Rich came to our rescue! Now we can all turn the lights on again without going broke.
It's a real feel-good story -- except for the facts.
First, Clark and Coleman still imposed a 17 per cent BC Hydro rate increase over three years -- money out of your pocket.
Was Clark being deliberately devious by repeating the wrong number six times in her scrum with media?
Third, Clark and Coleman arbitrarily cancelled public hearings by the Commission that would have laid out why BC Hydro needed a big rate increase.
Those hearings would have included full cross examination of officials under oath about BC Hydro's finances -- and that's why the government quickly shut them down.
But the BC Liberal Party's cost to benefit their financial supporters? Priceless.
Deferral of costs
Those deferrals come at the same time government to balance its own budget.
Fifth, the Commission would have looked at the , previously having been stopped from reviewing it before the dubious devices were imposed on unhappy consumers by another BC Liberal direct order.
While smart meters are highly controversial for health reasons due to their emitting wireless radiation, what is unquestionable is that they produce extremely healthy profits for the corporations building and installing them.
Sixth, Clark and Coleman conveniently forgot to mention that their government appoints the and the members of the -- they're ultimately in charge of both.
So to sum up, Christy Clark cancels public hearings into BC Hydro's multi-billion dollar debts, but still imposes big rate increases while declaring herself a hero for "saving" us from even higher -- but imaginary -- hikes at the hands of two organizations she actually controls.