Rich Coleman, minister of Energy and Mines and no friend of democracy, exacerbates the BC Hydro dilemma by his political interference.
Tearing apart a public utility that is in desperate need for skilled labour and redirecting is counter-productive.
However, it is not surprising as it is the pursuit of the Liberal government policy to fully privatise the legacy left by the honourable W.A.C Bennett.
That legacy being affordable and abundant electricity, owned and operated by the citizens of British Columbia.
Almost the moment the Liberals took power, BC Hydro was no longer permitted to develop green, cheap, reliable power generation and was forced to purchase from private sources. The contracts negotiated by the Liberals are lucrative.
“Market rates were estimated at $50/MWh for the next decade. Yet BC Hydro has negotiated agreements to pay between $80-$125/MWh today, as per the government’s 2007 Energy Plan.” (Citizens Campaign for Public Power)
That’s 60-150 per cent above the market rate!
As of 2008 the taxpayer paid almost $1 billion to approximately 33 private providers.
These contracts are due to expire. If the BC Liberal track record is consistent, these contracts will be renewed at generous rates of compensation to ensure the private provider does not exercise its right — under the guise of free trade — to use our resources and sell electricity to the higher bidder outside of B.C.
So why do we have smart meters imposed upon us?
In the name of free market enterprise? To maximize profit? Time of use rates will be implemented almost immediately after smart meters are all installed.
Like every jurisdiction where they’ve been installed, electricity rates will increase significantly. This occurs after the rebalancing rate increases were imposed on the residential rate payer from 2007-10.
More rate increases are being demanded in the name of upgrading the grid and new generating by and for private interests.
Overall, one can estimate these increases to be 30 to 40 per cent. And then there are smart meters and the sky is the limit.
These wireless devices will have a clear view of all that you do on a 24/7 basis and will impose higher rates when using high use appliances such as dryers, hot water tanks, baseboard heaters, etc.
The initial cost of these smart meters is approximately $1 billion.
Smart meters have a shorter life span than the current analogue meters and require ongoing maintenance and tweaking. The resulting bite from family incomes will be significant for low and middle income families.
The next step will be the imposition of deregulation. The brokers will come around to sell you fixed-price power through dubious, long-term contracts and lucrative administrative fees that lock you in. (Canadian Press, Dec. 18, 2002)
On a marginal income? Maybe you will be required to pay a month in advance and when you max out on your kilowatt hours, the meter will automatically shut off your power. Freeze in the dark is no longer a derogatory remark, but becomes a chilly reality.
The health effect of smart meters also needs to be stressed. Smart meters will generate a constant blanket of pulsing RF radiation throughout your community. Regardless of the source of the research and studies, even the most flawed studies cannot positively assert that smart meters do not cause adverse health effects. The World Health Organization does not classify RF radiation as a probable carcinogen frivolously.
And the BC Liberals impose smart meters on us by making it the law. (www.citizensforsafetechnology.ca)
What happened to the pride we have in using our natural resources to produce an affordable basic necessity for human activity and economic and social development? The BC Liberals sold it off to private for-profit interests.
This is the new law. The road to privatization is never achieved by democratic protocols and the Liberals know it. I will be forthright and make my stand for democracy by refusing the smart meter and defying the new Liberal Law for all the foregoing reasons and many more.
Unlike the BC Liberals, I encourage everybody to become informed and make an informed decision.
Make a stand for democracy and the health of your family in spite of Liberal law that defies and disregards our democratic rights. Say NO this NOvember to smart meters.
John Malthouse, Sointula, B.C.