B.C. Utilities Commission should be an elected body

our local service provider, FortisBC, appears to consider only financial gain.

To the Editor:

The public depends on and pays for the electrical supply that we need. We respect those who provide this service, and they in turn, should be respectful.

Unfortunately, for our local service provider, FortisBC, appears to consider only financial gain.

They brag about a 40 year track record of raising dividends, while their customers reel under the load of ever increasing electricity rates charged by this monopoly.

We dutifully conserve, and still pay more for less electricity, thanks to cleverly designed billing systems. Fortis revenues and profits climb to fund their voracious need for dividend increases.

When Fortis recently acquired CH Energy in upper New York state, New York Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown warned Fortis to avoid looking at the local utility as a profit-generating holding. “Get to know New York” he advised Fortis. “The way you may do things, business, elsewhere is not New York,” in a probable reference to Fortis’ controversial record of dam building in Belize, power line project in the south Okanagan and electricity rate increases in both areas.

We can’t afford this, FortisBC. Fortis’ profit has grown 85 per cent in the past five years, while sales volumes has essentially stayed flat. On top of the $105 million spent to overbuild the power line that has destroyed property values and increased public safety risk along prime lake view bench lands, another $500 million is being spent to build the 345MW Waneta dam for power we don’t need. Now that the CH Energy purchase did not measure up to their profit expectations are we supposed to kick in more to pay for that too?

The public interest is being steamrollered by Fortis and a compliant BCUC. Fortis has been granted a monopoly, a privilege that comes with responsibilities, not a right to abuse ratepayers. The question for many families is becoming, “Shall we buy food or pay the Fortis power bill?”

The Fortis monopoly show a profit of 85 per cent, none of which seems to be coming back to the ratepayers. Fortis profits. We pay.

Unfortunately, we have no voice to protect the public. B.C.U.C. is politically appointed, by those, who think we can’t think for ourselves — and we stupidly elected them.

We are led to believe that these recently elected provincial neophytes could conduct the publics’ business in an unbiased attitude, and hopefully, to understand our concerns of safety and freedom, from possible corporate persecution. Unfortunately, they appear to be part of the problem. This uncontrolled, careless spending by Fortis is promoting “gentrification,” [the controlled squashing of the working peoples and the poor in our society]

We do not seem to have any voice for public protection from overbearing corporations. In my opinion, B.C. Utilities Commission should be elected, by the public. Perhaps, we might have responsible, transparent decisions, that are fair to both sides of utility concerns; and perhaps prevent corporate persecution.

 

Sincerely, Flo Winfrey, Olalla