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Hydro, ferry rate increases on April 1 has critic saying B.C. means 'Bring Cash'

VANCOUVER - Critics of the B.C. government say there will be nothing funny about April Fool's Day, when ferry and electricity rates go up and increase costs for middle-class families and people living on fixed incomes. BC Hydro is hiking rates by nine per cent, the first in a decade of annual increases that will see fees jump by nearly 40 per cent. Passengers using BC Ferries will also pay about four per cent more on major and minor routes — increases meant to cover rising operating, fuel, capital-replacement and labour costs.

Province's Clean Energy Act limits BC Hydro power options, dam critics told

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - British Columbia's groundbreaking Clean Energy Act has limited the options available to the province's Crown utility corporation for expanding the power grid, the chairman of an environmental review panel pointed out as critics demanded answers about the utility's plans to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River. One after another, opponents of the Site C proposal have questioned the corporation's choice to pursue the dam in northeastern B.C.

Supporters, opponents line up to make their case at Site C review panel hearings

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - Supporters of BC Hydro's Site C hydroelectric project appear to have torn a page from the environmental strategy book, signing up in droves to participate in upcoming federal environmental review hearings. Thousands of documents had been filed by the Monday night deadline with a joint federal-provincial review panel, including dozens of applications to speak at the hearings beginning Dec. 9 in Fort St. John.

BC Hydro responds to panel questions on Site C dam's impacts, costs

VANCOUVER - BC Hydro has submitted a long list of species at risk that will be affected by its proposed Site C hydroelectric dam after a request from a federal environmental review panel that found Hydro's original list "incomplete and inconsistent." The environmental impact statement submitted by the provincial utility omitted several species, including the endangered short-eared owl, and in some cases provided mitigation measures that didn't appear to have any link to the species in question.

Suggested BC Hydro rate hike of 26 per cent won't be approved: premier

VICTORIA - Premier Christy Clark and Energy Minister Bill Bennett are trying to lessen the shock of possible 26-per-cent BC Hydro rate hikes connected to a leaked report, saying that number is too high, but they warn rates are likely to increase to cover capital costs to upgrade aging infrastructure.

BC Hydro to cut 10 power deals, defer 9 others, says energy minister

VANCOUVER - Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says BC Hydro expects to cancel 10 agreements to buy private electricity and defer nine others as it looks for ways to cut costs for consumers. The announcement comes one week after the utility released a report announcing four agreements had been cancelled and others were under consideration, and only one day after Bennett made similar comments publicly.

Multimillion out-of-court deal ends B.C.'s high-voltage fight with California

VANCOUVER - Powerex, the for-profit arm of British Columbia's Crown-owned power utility, has reached an out-of-court settlement, unplugging a 12-year-old, potentially multi-billion-dollar lawsuit with the state of California. The province's energy minister, Bill Bennett, said Friday there was little joy in the decision to agree to a US$750-million settlement, but he said it was a necessary measure to protect taxpayers from potentially skyrocketing costs that could have included a $3.2 billion judgment if the province lost in court.

B.C. energy minister says hydro rates will increase, but can't say by how much

VICTORIA - BC Hydro power rates have no place to go but up because billions of dollars are being pumped into capital projects around the province to upgrade decades-old infrastructure, says Energy Minister Bill Bennett. Bennett wouldn't give a ballpark figure on the rate hikes Thursday, but said BC Hydro and the provincial government will discuss the issue and likely make a decision within the next two months.

BC Hydro fires workers accused of helping steal electricity and equipment

VANCOUVER - Five BC Hydro employees have been fired for violations the Crown corporation said include stealing company equipment and facilitating theft of electricity. Hydro said Thursday a total of 18 employees were interviewed as part of an internal probe that the union says is related to marijuana grow-ops. While three workers remain under investigation, ten others have returned to work.
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