In my letter to the editor printed in the May 31 Penticton Western News regarding the new Fortis rates, one line was altered which totally changed the gist of what I was saying. The line should have informed you that from March 2012 to September 2012 our average monthly usage was 877.5 kwh, and from September 2012 to March 2013 the monthly average was 2,124 kwh. Using these averages it is easy to see that even in the summer the usage is above what Fortis has set tier one at, and the higher tier two rate will kick in.
I said in my letter that I had written to BCUC, and last week I received a letter of reply from a “customer service specialist” at BCUC. This letter totally contradicts what Mr. Loski of Fortis said in his letter to the editor in the May 3 edition of the Western. Mr. Loski says in his letter that 75 per cent of his customers will see lower annual bills and only five per cent will see increases of more than 10 per cent.
In the letter from the BCUC, the customer service specialist says that 95 per cent of customers will see a bill increase of 10 per cent or less. This contradiction makes me wonder which one of them is telling us the truth about these new rates.
I have written back to the BCUC to inform them of this very apparent contradiction and that I wonder if one of the two parties is confused about what Fortis was actually given approval to do. The BCUC letter goes on to say that Fortis was directed to review and evaluate the rate’s impact on customers and that the BCUC will be compiling a document outlining the concerns of residents.
The new conservation rate will be reviewed in early 2014, so if you are angry or concerned about these new rates you need to let Fortis and the BCUC know your concerns. If only a few people write letters, this new rate structure will most likely be approved as is.
Finally, since my letter appeared in the Western, we have received our latest Fortis bill. The bill informs us that as of June 1, 2013 our monthly bill will reflect an equal payment amount increase of 33.3 per cent. Mr. Loski states in his letter, that while some customers are seeing higher bills in the winter, most will have lower bills averaged over the year. This increase that we have been notified of is quite a bit higher than the approximately 10 per cent Fortis and the BCUC are talking about and is absolutely outrageous.
It’s clear by this increase that either Fortis doesn’t believe that our bills will average out over the coming year or they are anticipating some more big rate increases to come. I believed the new rate structure was wrong before this latest bill arrived and now it is obvious that we are going to be gouged by Fortis if we just sit back and allow it to happen.