BC Hydro CEO mounts cost-cutting effort to cover $3.5 B in revenue declines

VICTORIA – Revenues have declined by $3.5 billion at British Columbia’s public power utility but consumers won’t be zapped with rate hikes beyond what was originally forecasted.

BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald says the Crown corporation has instead embarked on a utility-wide cost-cutting program to stick to its 10-year rate plan announced almost three years ago.

B.C.’s electricity rate hikes increased four per cent in April and are slated to increase at three and 1/2 per cent and three per cent over the next two years.

McDonald says warm winters and a decrease in commodity prices in B.C.’s resource industries are largely to blame for the revenue declines.

Opposition New Democrat energy critic Adrian Dix says Hydro’s debts are increasing and now amount to $3,000 for every British Columbian.

McDonald says this year’s four per cent rate increase averages at $4.65 extra each month for a family of four living in a single-family detached home.