Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Voting against two-tiered billing

My final option is to not vote for any party which refuses to correct this unfair billing practice

Voting against two-tiered billing

Four years ago when Linda Larson applied for the job as the Boundary-Similkameen MLA she was (as were all other candidates) outraged at the high cost of electricity from Fortis B.C.

For a while she made mention of her efforts in her publications to the constituents, of late there has been little news.

I cannot for the life of me understand why this punitive two-tiered billing system is being continued. I have for four years complained to Larson, to the B.C. Utilities Commission and to the people through the newspapers about how unfair this billing practice is to people with electric heat. This system was forced upon the electric utility by the B.C. Utilities Commission who received their instructions from the B.C. government.

Fortis told the commission that this change would be devastating to electric heat customers. No one at the utilities commission listened because they had their marching orders from the government. Electric heat customers were just collateral damage to their plan. Should we take out our anger and frustration on Fortis B.C.? No, we should not. This policy was ordered to be implemented by your Liberal government (Gordon Campbell was Premier), who to this day continues to defend this unfair billing system.

The concept of heating electrically was promoted with rebates and allowances to install heat pumps. So now all of the folks that do not have access to gas are now stuck with a heating system that has become so expensive during the heating season that electric heat users must take drastic actions to find enough money to pay the electric bill or freeze in the dark.

My latest Fortis electric bill was for $279.59 for Jan. 4 through to March 6 2017.One could say what are you complaining about? This is a reasonable cost especially considering the very harsh winter. I ask you to bear with me here. For this sum I was able to keep my house at 16.3 C for January and 15 C in February. I ran out of Tier 1 rates on Feb. 13 which meant that the 20 days left in the billing period were all at 15.617 cents for every kWh used. If we had dared to keep the house at 20 C during the day and 17 C at night our cost would be approximately double that which we actually paid.

I have installed a high efficiency heat pump, energy saving appliances, energy efficient lighting, a timer on my hot water tank (it runs only eight hours per day), energy saving window coverings, insulated our heating/cooling duct work, installed solar film for summer heat reduction and we practice preventing energy waste by not having any electrical item left on when not in use. We seldom use the electric oven and select foods that we can cook using the less costly microwave. Our house has an energy efficiency rating of 82.7 out of a possible 83 points for a home of this vintage. We can do nothing more except pay the inflated rates or freeze in the dark.

Perhaps Premier Clark should conceive expanding the availability of natural gas to rural areas instead of trying to export our gas to Asia. You have eager future gas customers right here in British Columbia!

My final option now, is to not vote for any government or party which refuses to correct this unfair billing practice. Remember Mr. Obama’s message of “Yes we can.“ We who oppose two tiered billing structures are not going away and will not give up fighting for what is fair.

James B. McGinnigle


Similar attitude regarding park

Dave Curson’s letter (Penticton Western News, March 24, Vandalism demolishes sign) was on the mark.

As a follow-up to that, however, it should be noted that in the past couple of years, close to 60 smaller ‘Yes National Park’ signs throughout the South Okanagan. have been stolen or vandalized.

These were all put up by individuals on their own property. So while the destruction of the large sign likely is the work of a few criminally minded sots, there appear to be others who share their attitude.

Eva Durance


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