LETTERS: Looking at the true cost of electricity power

Letters to the editor sent in to the June 3 edition of The Western

The large-scale Site C dam project will take 10 years to build and will be B.C.’s biggest expenditure to date. Yet, the energy picture will change drastically in those 10 years. My own home-based “solar power plant” is working every day, saving me money. Solar energy should be a big part of B.C.’s future.

Our province is ignoring that, worldwide, countries are creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating huge amounts of energy with solar. How can we reach our politicians, who are not held accountable for questionable decisions they make regarding our energy future? Any project as expensive and massive as the Site C dam should be put to a provincial referendum.

On May 1st, the smart meters will be rolled out in FortisBC’s service areas. These meters will enable Fortis to implement time-of-day billing, allowing them to charge more for peak demand usage, usually from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. I can’t say Fortis will raise the daytime rate, but Ontario just did, doubling the peak demand rates from eight cents to 16 cents/kWh.

Energy corporations have become like landlords, and we, their customers, are like renters. But these landlords continually raise the rent, and the renters have no option but to pay. Sounds like a monopoly.

If your annual energy bill is $2,000 and you factor in a 40-60 per cent increase in the cost of power over 10 years, you’ll be paying close to $30,000, and have nothing to show for it. If you invest in solar, your bills will be lower and the savings will be tax-free. It’s an investment over time that pays you back, but you have to spend money to make money.

Natural gas, at one time, was relatively cheap; not anymore. Last year, I used $300 worth of gas, yet my bill for the year was $1,050, after add-ons, taxes, delivery charges, etc. Have you checked your natural gas bills lately? Pay attention to the cost of gas in relation to the total bill. Ever wonder why there are so many rebates on gas appliances, furnaces and water heaters? Once you commit to natural gas, it’s very expensive to switch. The best way to manage your energy costs is to go solar.

When I replace my natural gas fireplaces and hot water heater, I will be powered by electricity and solar. Sure, it’s going to cost me more money upfront, but it will save me money in the long run. My advice to people building or buying a house is to carefully check out your energy options. As far as I know, the sun hasn’t raised its rates in over four billion years.

Paul McCavour


Searching for Answer

Ms. Sheppard sat silent on May 11 when the school board chair refused to allow questions of individual trustees. Not one trustee stood for the right of the people to question their elected officials that day.

My questions to individual board members regarding the outrageous salary increase given to Supt. Wendy Hyer ($29,000) went unanswered. Chair Van Alphen ruled that I could ask questions privately of individual trustees.

On May 20, I emailed Trustee Ms. Sheppard the following question: You have voted for this budget giving the superintendent a 22 per cent increase in wages despite the fact that during the election campaign you said that your role as a new trustee is to repair relations with teachers. As the teachers spent several weeks on a picket line and only received 1.5 per cent how do you justify this raise in the budget and how do you expect this will improve school board relations with teachers?

Her May 26 reply was as follows:

“My true apologies for not getting back to you sooner — I have just returned from a business trip.  I will forward your email inquiry to the board spokesperson (chair), by cc of this reply, for it to be added to the next available agenda as an item of correspondence.”

Apparently Ms. Sheppard is not willing to answer any questions whether in or out of the board room. Why?

Elvena Slump


Government of one

Re: Canadian Senate: Yea or Nay, May 30, 2015.

Thank you, Mr. Barillaro   for the history lesson, reminding readers that the Senate has been part of Canada since 1775 and is mandated by the Canadian constitution.

Ron also tells — since then  the senate has evolved  into what it is today — to coin another old phrase the senate is as useless as a T’s on a bull!

Evolve means a gradual change over time and if that’s the case, the constitution is a prime example of antiquated thinking that does not belong in this constantly changing world.

If  those people  living in 1775 could just have good look at today’s world; I believe there would be mass suicide when viewing today’s not-so-good  along with the bad and ugly that is the  incompetent senate.

It would be difficult to ask  what’s new when entering an antique store, if change had never taken place ?

Prime Minister Pearson, I think, in 1965 changed the British Union Jack for the Canadian Maple Leaf  Flag,  the pride and joy of all  proud Canadians .

No, it could be a simple task to get rid of a free-loading Senate.

The people of Canada speaking loud and clear in one voice united — not asking but telling the senate and others that harm our country — the party is over today not one of the tomorrows.

Canadians, together we can stop the flight of those political pigeons that mess up our lives and the lives of the future.

Tom Isherwood


Tired of being blue

I tried to talk to get some information from Service Canada today. I spent 10 minutes on the phone, got disconnected, went through the computer choices, again, and then spent another 20 minutes on the phone.

When I finally got through to an actual person, she was helpful and courteous. However, I was frustrated and curt with her because I had just run a psychological endurance race in order to speak to a real human being.

The sense of frustration still lingers as well as my appreciation about the woman’s patience.

I resorted to the phone system because the Service Canada office in Penticton is woefully understaffed.

Often the staff there are required to make email requests for a call back because they have neither the information nor the power to make decisions or give out appropriate information. Callbacks can take as long as a week, if they happen at all. Still no one seems to have the power to give out information or make a decision.

Twenty some odd years of downsizing and service cuts in the name of fiscal responsibility has resulted in a civil service that is unable to meet the growing needs of the Canadians they are trying to serve.

It’s time for a change.  I think it’s time that British Columbia joined the Orange Wave.  I’m tired of being Blue.

Gwenellen Tarbet