Fortis too expensive

I am writing to say that apparently some British Columbians are more equal than others.

(re: Fortis rates flaunt Charter, Letters, Western News, July 31)

After reading Ron Robertson’s letter I was motivated to write this letter to agree somewhat with him.

Mr. Robertson talks about the Charter of Rights and that all Canadians are to be treated equally.

I am writing to say that apparently some British Columbians are more equal than others.

I have a copy of a friend’s bill from BC Hydro dated June 5, 2013, and have checked with another BC Hydro customer to confirm these rates.

BC Hydro is on a two-tier conservation rate, as is Fortis.

BC Hydro’s tier-one threshold is set at 1350 kwh per two-month period, and the rates of the two tiers are as follows:  tier one is $0.06900/kwh, this is 21.62 per cent less than Fortis’ tier-one rate.

BC Hydro’s tier two is $0.10340/kwh, or 20.2 per cent less than Fortis’ tier-two rate.

My friend’s basic charge for 61 days was $0.15270/day for a total of $9.31.

Fortis charges me $15.17 every month, so for the same 61 days my basic charge would be $30.34 or 225.89 per cent higher than BC Hydro.  Yes, I said 225.89 per cent.

So, based on BC Hydro’s rates, my total cost for a 12-month payment plan, ended May of this year, was 25.9 per cent more as a Fortis customer than if we were serviced by BC Hydro.

I have written to the BCUC twice since May of this year regarding the apparent unfairness of the two-tier rates, and have received one letter and one phone call in response.

The letter was somewhat contradictory to what Fortis had been saying about percentages of customers who would be affected.

The phone call was on June 11 from Mr. Wruck, a BCUC customer service specialist, to say that, “the BCUC and Fortis had looked at having different rates for areas without gas access, but decided that this would look as though they were laying favourites to some consumers.”

Instead, as I told him at the time, it looks like they decided to make a small number of consumers subsidize the larger number that have an alternative to electric heat.

Now that I have the BC Hydro rates for comparison, it looks like the BCUC and BC Hydro are playing favourites to most of B.C. by charging a lot less for electricity in BC Hydro’s service area, and if you happen to live in an area serviced by Fortis, too bad.

By now you have probably heard the news that the BCUC has approved Fortis’ application to install smart meters in their service area.

It looks like we are being treated equally in one way at least, whether we like it or not.

Bill Copeland

Cawston