Energy Plan Includes A New, Unnecessary Tax: Bc Hydro Union

Burnaby, BC The energy surcharge that forms the centerpiece of new initiatives of the 2007 Energy Plan released today amounts to a new tax on Hydro consumers that is the result of the provincial governments political interference in energy planning, says the union representing workers at BC Hydro and throughout BCs energy sector.

The net result of this energy plan is that when ratepayers open their Hydro bills they will pay more, said Gwenne Farrell, a senior financial analyst at BC Hydro and Vice-President of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378 (COPE 378). Put simply: private power production costs more, and now we have a new tax that exists solely to subsidize the private energy companies, Farrell added.

The most baffling aspect of this new tax is that BC Hydro has the ability to produce an abundance of cheap, clean energy which would negate any need for a rate increase but the provincial government wont let them, added Farrell.

If the Liberal government just stepped back and let BC Hydro do its job, then ratepayers could have some stability and wouldnt be forced to pay this subsidy to private power companies, said Farrell.

Since the release of the 2002 Integrated Energy Plan by the BC Liberal Government, BC Hydro has been forbidden from developing new sources of electricity generation.

BC Hydro has gone from province-builder to maintenance repairman, said Farrell. In a little over a decade from now, private energy developers will be supplying almost half of our electricity and selling it back to British Columbians at hugely inflated prices.

In addition to imposing a new tax on British Columbians, todays energy plan leaves the door wide open for coal fired power plants and excessive greenhouse gas emission. All power generators have to do under this plan is to buy carbon offsets.

In essence, the government is saying yes, you can still build a coal-fired power plant, as long as you plant trees, too, noted Farrell. Instead of justifying dirty energy through a numbers game, the government has to say no to coal and then let our public utility aggressively guide a true sustainable agenda, concluded Farrell.