Letter: Not a justification for high electricity rates

Now we have the Mayor of Penticton trying to justify electricity rates that are too high using the usual rhetoric.

Now we have the Mayor of Penticton trying to justify electricity rates that are too high using the usual rhetoric; that it is the weather and consumers’ fault.

Of course colder weather will increase consumption, but it does not justify rates that are too high. Of course there are some homes that are old and not energy efficient, but that does not explain the multitude of homeowners who could afford to, and spent significant money upgrading their homes. It does not explain the landlords who have no reason to upgrade because it is the tenant who gets saddled with the high bill. He also implies that environmentally responsible people who have all-electric homes are energy hogs (whether intentional or not).

For the gas furnaces, the blower motor is typically only about a quarter to half horsepower. That is not a large motor. The size of my house water pressurization motor is half horsepower. However, the mayor is correct that the efficiency of furnace blowers can vary greatly. Two types are typically used for furnace motors; PSC (permanent split capacitor) and ECM (electronically commutated motor). Regardless, a home with natural gas space and water heating should not have any significant electrical consumption compared to the all-electric home.

FortisBC has stated that in the absence of their two-tiered rate structure, their equivalent flat rate would have been $0.11433/kWh for 2016. The cost for the citizens of Penticton with their own distribution department of the city was $0.1233/kWh. Apparently, this arrangement is not doing the citizens of Penticton any favour.

However, ending on a positive note, kudos to the City of Penticton for not having the unfair, two-tiered rate system that forces all-electric homeowners to subsidize natural gas heated homeowners.

Jerrilynn DeCock

Penticton