A multi million dollar rubber stamp

A multi-million dollar rubber stamp Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board, The Utilities Consumers' Group received and reviewed the YUB decision regarding the 2012-2013 Yukon Energy rate application for a 13 per cent electrical rate hike over the two

Open letter to the Yukon Utilities Board,

The Utilities Consumers’ Group received and reviewed the YUB decision regarding the 2012-2013 Yukon Energy rate application for a 13 per cent electrical rate hike over the two years.

As an intervener in this dragged-out, expensive process, we are demoralized by this obscure, 90-page decision. You already approved two interim increases; one which commenced July 1, 2012 of 6.4 per cent and the other for January 1, 2013 of 3.75 per cent, so you already knew then that you would be allowing most of what Yukon Energy was asking for.

What is conspicuously absent from your reasons for decision are what should have been done about:

* the lateness of the application (halfway into a test year);

* regulatory reform to lower costs;

* obligation to serve future industrial customers at the risk to present Yukon ratepayers; and

* how all this will negatively impact ratepayers on future procedures and outcomes.

You continuously state that without sufficient intervener evidence in contradiction, you have no alternative but to accept what Yukon Energy has provided in their record. You fail to observe that not near-sufficient evidence was provided by the applicant nor how much the panel conveniently forgot essential questions at the hearing.

How much more evidence did you need to demonstrate the costs for the Atlin Lake storage project was not prudent? Yet you gave them full go-ahead to place all these study costs on the rate base.

And what about the cost over-runs without updated evidence by Yukon Energy to prove these projects are providing ample benefits to ratepayers? Or planning and study costs of some $24 million with absolutely nothing to show for these campaigns, except for tomes that serve as book-weights on the chair’s desk? Or deferred project costs of over $10 million with no cost/benefit analysis provided?

This was an act of futility, which cost ratepayers well over $1 million. Your resulting decision saves ratepayers a few thousand dollars, at most. This process has again made ex-bureaucrats, lawyers and consultants richer – most of whom live elsewhere and spend our money elsewhere.

Roger Rondeau

Utilities Consumers’ Group

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