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BC: Here Comes High Electricity Bills

January 16, 2017
BC: Here Comes High Electricity Bills

Gregor Craigie, a CBC radio host on Vancouver Island, has an interesting opinion piece on the Mother Corp’s website about high BC Hydro costs in the face of this winter’s cold snap.

It really serves as a warning for those who think Gregor Robertson’s plan to ban natural gas in the City of Vancouver will be harmless. From Craigie’s piece:

It seems a lot of people in B.C. are paying attention to the high costs of low temperatures this winter...

It's a particularly concerning issue here on Vancouver Island, where natural gas was a relatively recent arrival and where a greater proportion of the population uses electric heating than our neighbours on the mainland.

When I first moved here more than a decade ago, I was surprised by how many homes still had big, bulky, heating oil tanks standing outside.

Since then, many people have responded to ads and incentives from BC Hydro and various levels of government to replace them with more energy-efficient electric heat pumps.

Many B.C. homeowners have responded to incentives encouraging the switch from oil and natural gas furnaces to electric heat pumps. (CBC)

At first, making the switch seemed like an economic win as well as an environmental one.

While many people paid up to $15,000 to upgrade their electrical system and have the heat pumps installed, they quickly saw savings on their monthly bills.

But that was back when electricity cost about six cents per kilowatt hour.

Now it costs at least eight cents per kWh, and thanks to a two-tier rate structure, it costs more than 12 cents for many who heat their homes with electricity.

For many, the rate they pay to heat their homes has doubled.

According to Fortis B.C., which provides customers with both electricity and natural gas, it's now considerably cheaper to heat your home with natural gas than it is with electricity.

Forewarned is forearmed, Vancouverites. Tell Gregor Robertson his natural gas ban may be great for greenwashing millionaires – but it will damn hardworking taxpayers to energy poverty.

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