BC Hydro rate freeze killed

The BC Utilities Commission has rejected the NDP government’s planned BC Hydro rate freeze and approved a three per cent increase for 2018. 

The commission announced its decision Thursday on the basis that the rate freeze would have not allowed BC Hydro to cover operating costs and would put the province's 10-year rate plan at risk. 

After campaigning on the one-year rate freeze in 2017, the NDP directed BC Hydro in November to change its rate application to the BCUC. The original three per cent increase was proposed by the BC Liberals in 2016.

"I am disappointed the BCUC turned down BC Hydro's request for a one-year rate freeze, and instead, approved the previous government's rate increase,” Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said, adding her government will be undertaking a full review of BC Hydro.

"We respect the BCUC's work and diligence as British Columbians' independent regulator. Although disappointed with its decision, we understand the commission's concerns and will work to address them."

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson attacked the Horgan government for failing to live up to a "reckless promise." 

“British Columbians, particularly those on fixed incomes, believed the BC NDP when they promised a freeze on hydro bills. They planned accordingly and are now left in the lurch and face higher expenses," he said in a statement. "This is a government that stumbles into messes that cost all of us because they put rhetoric ahead of planning."

The rate increase will go into place April 1. 

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