Encouraging energy efficiency and renewable energy on Vancouver Island

Higher residential electricity bills coming; Conservation key

October 8, 2007

NANAIMO, B.C. Conservation of currently wasted electricity is the key
point being made by a non-profit organisation as they released a
preliminary calculation stating that the price for electricity to
residential users could increase by as much as 15% in the next three years.

Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island stated that this figure was
arrived at after doing “quite a bit of analysis” of a recent interim
ruling made by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), the public utility
that regulates electrical rates in B.C.

Ludo Bertsch, an intervenor in the hearing, said that BCUC has indicated
it wishes to simultaneously reduce the price to larger customers.
“Essentially the regulator believes that the larger electricity users in
our province have been subsidizing the residential users,” said Bertsch.

The change would raise the average household bill by about $110 yearly.

While these numbers are estimates, and are based on an interim ruling,
they are about ten times the increase for residential users than was
recommended by B.C. Hydro.

“The only silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud of higher prices is
that people may take conservation measures more seriously,” said Ian
Gartshore, the President of ESVI. “One concern, obviously, is how low
income earners will handle these increases,” he added.

“ESVI believes that nobody should be denied the opportunity to save
energy. We hope that the BCUC will see fit to ensure funds are directed
toward assisting low-income homeowners and renters to improve their
energy efficiency.

“And we’d like to see the future rate reductions for some BC Hydro
customers be reversed and the funds used to help them reduce their
energy demand, plus put investment into renewable energy systems such as
solar, wind, wave and tidal power. B.C. has a huge untapped potential
for renewable power,” said Gartshore. “And investments in renewable
power create a great deal of wealth, stability for the grid, and good
paying jobs.”

Bertsch added, “If the BCUC and the Province are willing to work with
companies and not-for-profits such as ourselves we could save power,
create lots of clean renewable power and jobs, and not hurt the
low-income folk.

“Otherwise the province will miss an opportunity for progress, and they
will be left out in the dark.”


Ian Gartshore
Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island (Society)
353 Seventh St.
Nanaimo, B.C.

Ludo Bertsch
250-592-1488 (Victoria)

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