Is Nelson Hydro a stealth tax?

From reader Norm Yanke....

The proposed 4.28 per cent increase in Nelson Hydro means we will pay 27 per cent more than a BC Hydro customer. The public PR says the arithmetic average increase since 2009 is 3.88 per cent. They won’t say compounded, it’s 48.7 per cent more. The Fortis increase is 2.76 per cent.

Nelson had the first hydro electric plant in BC, paid for decades ago. Once we had the cheapest power in North America.

BC Hydro’s basic fee $10 per month, ours is almost $16 per month. In a 2012 rate increase submission Nelson Hydro said, “to encourage conservation, increases should only be applied to power.” From 2010 going from $10 to $16 basic encourages conservation?

City financials since 2009 show hydro revenues at about $4.4-million per year. Where does the money go?

Could it be the Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus geothermal heating project that doesn’t work students have to put electric heaters in their rooms. The solar garden, pitched as being funded by those opting in, you and I are paying for most of it. Maybe Nelson fiber, yes the city is in the Internet business competing with Shaw and Telus, but they have no customers, just employees!

The upcoming biomass boiler, burning wood to heat hot water to heat buildings is estimated to cost $6 million. That will make the solar garden and Nelson fiber projects look like a tea party.

It’s time for a Nelson Hydro audit, no friendly faces, arms length experts with no expectation of future work with the city. If you agree, contact the mayor and city council and tell them, or if you live outside the city, your regional directors.

As a city resident I can only complain to the mayor and council. A Fortis or BC Hydro customer has intervenor status with the BC Utilities Commission, with access to free legal and other experts to ensure increases are legitimate. Half of Nelson hydro customers are outside the city under the jurisdiction of the BC Utilities Commission. Talk to your regional directors, ask for an audit of Nelson hydro to ensure rate increases aren’t just your hidden tax to the city. Chelan county south of us has their own dam, they pay 3c/kWh, and it’s run by a board of directors for the benefit of the community. We need that.

Norm Yanke

Nelson BC

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