One of the more notable resolutions to come out of last week’s Union of BC Municipalities convention for the Similkameen was the Town of Greenwood’s elucidation regarding Tiered Electricity Rates.
The resolution called for the BC Utilities Commission to request Fortis to immediately review the two tiered rate and adjust it if it was found that low income households were negatively affected by it.
The resolution was a little late forthcoming – as BCUC had already ordered an early review of the rate – but it reinforces the message that appears to be common sentiment wherever the rates have been implemented, that being that the rate punishes those who can do little about their electrical use, and those who cannot access other forms of energy.
The goal of energy conservation is worthy, but it has to be pursued with consideration for all income levels and circumstances. The two tiered rate more than likely stands up quite well in a highly urbanized area where different energy options exist, but it appears to fail miserably in the province’s rural regions where there is often disparity in income and energy alternatives.
We believe a fundamental flaw in the present two tiered system lies in the 800KW monthly use threshold, after which the higher rate kicks in.
Averages notwithstanding, that number does not seem justifiable when one considers household electrical consumption, especially during the winter months.
Increasing the monthly threshold in the Similkameen would be one step towards rectifying the problem – in this region at least.