Letter to the Editor

Hydro hypocrisy Open letter to Archie Lang, minister responsible; John Maissan, retired Yukon Energy administrator; JP Pinard and Lewis Rifkind,…

Hydro hypocrisy

Open letter to Archie Lang, minister responsible; John Maissan, retired Yukon Energy administrator; JP Pinard and Lewis Rifkind, Yukon Conservation Society:

Hypocrisy is defined as the act or fact of putting on the false appearance of goodness.

Now that you have been successful in your plot to kill the Rate Stabilization Fund under the guise of conservation, rather than simply re-establishing the “clawback” clause in the fund that took care of conservation within the program, where are your promised initiatives to promote energy efficiencies to allow the consumer to conserve energy and at the same time lower their energy bill?

I have phoned the Energy Solutions Centre and the Yukon Housing Corporation to see what programs exist to offer residential consumers some relief to your act of raising electrical bills to promote conservation.

Energy Solutions Centre has no residential programs at this time.

However, you can get a $50 rebate to purchase a push lawnmower. By the way do you know any business in town that would have a push lawnmower to sell?

I can’t seem to find one.

YHC has only green mortgage funds available for new home builders, so this does not help the majority of consumers.

It is about to promote a federal program called eco-Energy Retrofit, but you would have to spend $15,000 of your money up-front to get back the $5,000 grant.

A great incentive, you say?

Are consumers lining up for this program because they have $15,000 extra to spend on a retro? How many years is the payback?

If you can fit square pegs into round holes you may be able to access some type of CMHC or other YHC funding?

Does the Yukon Conservation Society have energy efficiency programs to help consumers at low or non-interest bearing loans?

Does Maissan’s consulting firm have energy conservation programs with access to financing?

Last week, Lang announced the long-awaited comprehensive energy strategy consultation schedule.

First, you and your buddies promote rate-shock in Yukoners by ordering the death of the RSF within a year, then you have no alternative programs to help these ratepayers lower their bills with conservation techniques as you have promised.

Now you suggest you want to “consult” with stakeholders to strategize energy management.

Do you not think that rate volatility is an issue to be discussed?

Do you not think that rate stabilization would be on the debating table?

Do you not think that rate-shock and affordability are important to many Yukoners? (As a matter of fact, more than 2,500 Yukon ratepayers signed a petition telling you this, but you did not listen.)

Do you not think that programs to access energy conservation should have been considered and implemented before axing the stabilization rebate?

Let me now ask you your definition of consultation.

Is it the act of seeking information through a meeting of minds to exchange ideas and talk things over, or is it to first install your political agenda and then ask for ideas that will enhance this agenda or otherwise be outside the scope for discussion?

You said you had to get rid of the RSF so the proper message is sent to the ratepayer on the true cost of electricity to make sure consumers conserve.

Do you all agree that we have excess hydro power right now and have had for a number of years?

Does it not make sense to use this power rather than flush it downriver?

Or can only certain preferred Whitehorse businesses access this extra power at half the rate that firm residential customers pay?

Should this surplus power not be available for all Yukon consumers?

According to your philosophy of lowering carbon emissions, would not selling cheaper hydro power be better than burning diesel or wood to heat our homes?

Last, but certainly not least, you all argue that it is not good for our publicly owned corporations to subsidize electrical ratepayers because it goes against conservation.

Yet you all say it’s OK for residential ratepayers on hydro to subsidize other ratepayers on diesel, under the guise of Yukon rate equalization program?

Does this program send the message of pay the full cost of electrical service to instil conservation?

Will alternative energy solutions occur when such an exorbitant internal rate subsidy exists?

Which way do you want it?

Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group, Whitehorse