For Immediate Release | BCPIAC
Vancouver – BC Hydro and the federal and provincial governments are opposing the participation of anti-poverty and seniors’ groups in Site C Dam Project legal cases.
Active Support Against Poverty, BC Old Age Pensioners’ Organization, Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of BC, Disability Alliance BC and Together Against Poverty Society have applied to intervene in support of the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) challenges in BC Supreme Court and Federal Court of the approval of BC Hydro’s Site C Project, in order to represent the interests of low and fixed income residential ratepayers.
The Site C Project is currently projected to cost almost $9 billion, costs which will eventually have to be paid by BC Hydro ratepayers or taxpayers. The groups are asking for one hour of time in the PVLA’s BC Supreme Court case in order to explain how the flaws in the Site C approval process could result in significant rate increases to low-income ratepayers who are already having difficulty paying electricity bills.
“We plan to focus on the need for a thorough review by the BCUC of the need for and cost of the Site C Project, as recommended by the federal/provincial Joint Review Panel, to ensure that low-income people, including seniors and people with disabilities, aren’t required to pay unnecessary costs for electricity service,” said Sarah Khan, a lawyer with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre who is representing the groups.
Over the past decade, BC Hydro residential rates have increased by more than 41%, and will rise another 6% on April 1, 2015, for a total increase of 47% over 11 years. BC Hydro’s rates could increase by another 10.5% between 2016 and 2018. These increases have not been matched by corresponding increases in BC’s welfare rates or minimum wage.
Because of government and BC Hydro opposition, a full day hearing has now been set to decide whether the groups and other intervenors will be allowed to participate before the BC Supreme Court.