BC Hydro to cut jobs, slash proposed rate hike
BC Hydro will be asking for a rate hike that's half of what it originally wanted and eliminating up to 1,000 jobs following a government review, the Crown corporation announced Thursday.
As a result of a government-ordered review, BC Hydro will ask the BC Utilities Commission to increase rates by about 16 per cent over the next three years instead of 30 per cent.
"Today's announcement has found the right balance between the need to invest in our electricity system — which is the backbone of our economy — with the need to keep rates affordable for families and businesses," BC Hydro CEO Dave Cobb said in a written release.
BC Hydro will will achieve the reduction through cost-saving initiatives and other efficiencies identified in the review.
The government review found BC Hydro has generally done a good job of providing electrical services to British Columbians at low rates, but the utility's operating costs have been increasing.
The corporation will cut its expenditures by more than $800 million over the next three years through downsizing its workforce by 1,000 employees, deferring capital expenditures and updating trade income forecasts.
The review also found employment benefits are more generous than in comparable agencies and its procurement practises are not diligent enough in looking for efficiencies.
"I would like to thank the panel for the report and recommendations," said Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman.
"It provides a good starting point for both the Province and BC Hydro to move forward. By making suggested changes and prudently investing in our electricity infrastructure, we can keep electricity rates low for B.C. families."
The government review was led by a panel of senior officials, including deputy minister to the premier, John Dyble; deputy minister of finance, Peter Milburn and acting deputy minister of advanced education, Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland.
With files from The Canadian Press