Unregulated electrical rates could cause consumer hardship

NDP MHA Christopher Mitchelmore

The NDP MHA for The Straits-White Bay North is hearing concerns from his constituents about increased electrical rates, particularly after the rate-stabilizing Public Utilites Board is taken out of the picture. Christopher Mitchelmore brought those concerns to Question Period in the House of Assembly today.

“My constituents with monthly power bills of $250 will face, with the proposed rate increases, bills of basically $350 a month in 2017,” Mitchelmore said in the House.

“We’ve seen fairly stable rates for years regulated by the Public Utilities Board. Yet Government’s loan guarantee is contingent on removing the PUB from regulating electricity rates. I ask the Minister of Finance, does he expect low to middle income families, seeing their electricity bill go up this much over 5 short years, will still have the ability to pay?”

Mitchelmore also pointed out that higher electrical rates have broader-reaching effects than the person paying the bill.

“If people in five years see a jump in their power bills that takes a hundred dollars out of their pockets a month, that’s a hundred dollars that can’t be spent at the local restaurant, gas station or grocery store,” Mitchelmore said.

“Has the Province fully considered the social and economic implications of removing the rate stabilization formula by raising rates to the proposed 15.3 cents/kwh in just five years?”

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