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How the BC Liberals Played Politics with BC Hydro

Article By By Richard McCandless, The Tyee

The Liberal government in Ontario is facing a major political crisis due to opposition to the rapid increase in electricity prices, which have jumped by about 70 per cent for peak consumption in the last five years.

The rising price of electricity in Ontario has been attributed to growth in fixed costs, longer-term lucrative contracts for private power suppliers, the cost of major capital expenditures, the move to green power generation and falling demand for electricity. Public concern about growing electricity rates forced the government to announce this month it would cut bills by an average of 17 per cent. Borrowing the money to cover the lost revenue will saddle taxpayers with $1.4 billion in interest payments annually.

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Electricity Costs Shock Vancouver Island Homeowners

Article By Katherine Dedyna, Victoria Times Colonist

The commission decided on Jan. 20 to phase out the E-Plus program because there is no longer surplus power in the system, and the rest of Hydro’s customers are subsidizing the lower rates.

The E-Plus discount was “supposed to last till we all died,” said Oak Bay resident Angus Matthews, 64, one of an estimated 5,000 E-Plus Hydro customers on the Island. There are about 7,500 E-Plus customers in B.C.

The program was started in 1987 by Jack Davis, the B.C. energy minister, to equalize heating costs on the Island and parts of B.C. that did not have access to natural gas, which was available in the Lower Mainland.

Natural gas did not arrive on the Island until 1992, so the E-Plus discount was based on what Lower Mainland customers paid for natural gas. Hydro required households to install backup heating systems, such as oil or propane, to qualify for E-Plus because the surplus electricity might be cut off if required by the system. The commission said E-Plus power has never been cut off.