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Letter: Paying too much for electricity

To The Editor:

City of Nelson management was asked how they get away with raising hydro rates. The reply “because we can”. The BCUC has no jurisdiction, it's up to mayor and council.

In 2010 Nelson hydro customers paid .06c/kWh, basic was $10 . . . it's headed for 10.63c and $15.98.  BC Hydro rate is 8c and $11.

The city spin doctors say we have the cheapest electricity of all municipal electric utilities, however, they don't tell you no other municipality has their own hydro dam.

This year Fortis and BC Hydro increases are 0%. I ask why is Nelson still going up?

The BCUC has jurisidiction over the half of hydro customers not in the city, who are now beginning to ask questions.

How do they justify the $3.7M transferred to the city? Why is the $658,256 water license fee paid to the city not returned to the ratepayers?

At this years public meeting it was said a bonus of $800,000 was earned from selling power; operating costs are decreasing; and costly upgrades to the power plant, substations and transmission lines are behind us. So why are rates still increasing?

The BCUC asks why costs for the solar garden is recoverable from ratepayers? It was to be fully funded by those opting in.  My question, why is any of it recoverable.

They say costs are $329,000. I say it's more like $500,000 because they aren't including a lot of costs because only $228,000 came from those opting in . . . yet as late as this fall the city reply to the BCUC says it's fully funded by those opting in.

In 2016 Nelson Hydro sold $143,640 in power. If power was sold to BC hydro the entire years solar power wouldn't make $400 they pay less than 1c/kWh.  So why are we paying full retail for this while cleaner and greener water power spills downriver with the profits.

Nelson Hydro pays some city administration costs, reception, CAO and HR salaries.  There is a $2.93M transfer to capital reserves. The BCUC says they are concerned by continual overforecasting power purchases, especially by the amount, 10%.  This results in higher electric rates.

Finally, the BCUC says “its evident there is a need for improved stakeholder consultation before during and after filing”.  The BCUC says states Nelson must file 30 days in advance of Jan 1, 2018, is anyone aware of any invitation for public participation? I haven't seen it.

I see no justification to raise hydro rates again.

Norm Yanke, Nelson, BC