Electric customers in for a jolt
There is a public input session into proposed City of Penticton electrical rate increases in Council Chambers on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. If city staff refuses to rewrite the ad, staff is requesting an increase of 3.29 per cent plus an additional 2.95 per cent rebalancing charge for a total increase in your electrical rate of 6.24 per cent. If you look carefully at the ad on the City of Penticton web page (wwwpenticton.ca) and you do the calculations, you will see that the proposed increase is 6.24 per cent under alternative 6, and not 3.29 per cent as the ad would lead you to believe. Staff is recommending to council that alternative 6 be approved.
It is important for electrical users to realize that the rebalancing charge will probably repeat in 2013 and 2014. Staff could clarify this point for you.
I have requested that the ad be rewritten for clarity purposes. However, based on the reaction of staff to my angry suggestion that the ad be rewritten, the suggestion to rewrite the ad will probably be ignored.
There is some information on the city web page that utility users should read. In the information presented, staff tries to explain why the rebalancing rate increase is required to be assessed. Why Penticton rates must mimic Fortis rates is beyond me. It’s possible that heavy users of electricity will locate in the rural area rather than in the City of Penticton. No explanations are given as to why the rate differences have arisen over the years other than the fact that Fortis has made changes to their electrical users rates.
As a utility user, council is giving you the opportunity to speak to the electrical rate increase. If you do not take the time to understand the electrical rate increase, you have no one but yourself to blame when your electric utility bill arrives in the mail in February 2012.
Council and staff have a great deal of difficulty understanding the three words — honesty, transparency and accountability. Possibly if we keep harping, they will get the message.