Consumers zapped again
Re open letter to Archie Lang, minister responsible for Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation, and Willard Phelps, chair YDC/YEC:
Why did you drop lumps of coal into the stockings of your fellow Yukoners this Christmas?
Have we been naughty or the like?
By dissolving the rate stabilization fund before your promised rate reductions, you have successfully increased our electrical bills by $15 per month and plan on doing likewise again next August.
On May 23, Lang said that the publicly-owned utility would “go in front of the Yukon Utilities Board no later than the first of February to address rate reductions for the consumers in the territory.”
He also stated that he looked forward “to being able to report to this house in the next 14 months that the rate stabilization fund is no longer needed in the territory because we have rate reductions.”
On June 11, in response to a 2,500-name petition against the dissolving of the rate stabilization fund, the minister stated: “In addition, we are targeting a rate reduction as part of the general rate application for all ratepayers.”
In fact, on June 12 this same Yukon Party minister said “with the good decision-making process in place today, I feel confident that in the next 12 months we’ll be looking at a rate reduction for all Yukoners.”
Let’s see, 12 months from June means at the latest next May, right?
Now the Utilities Consumers’ Group reads in the legislative blues that the leaders of Yukon Energy Corporation do not even intend to file a general rate application (along with Yukon Electrical Company) until at least early in the fall of 2008 with a filing date in August the most likely.
This will then take six more months to go through the regulatory process.
Why is this important?
Well, without this full review of a general rate application, the Yukon Party government will not be able to live up to these previous commitments to implement rate reductions.
In the meantime, Yukoners will endure increased electricity bills for all these cold winter months and then next August your plans are to implement another $15 increase (by dissolving the other half of the rate stabilization fund) without any of the promised rate reductions.
Even if your commitment does hold true, it will very likely not become effective until January of 2009, halfway through next winter as well. Correct?
In its January 2007 report to the Yukon government on Yukon Energy’s 20-Year Resource Plan, the Yukon Utilities Board — the regulator — recommended the utilities file a full general rate application before October 31.
What have you guys been doing all this time to ensure our rates would go down before the winter, as promised, to negate the August bill increases from dissolving the rate stabilization fund?
Furthermore, according to Yukon Energy’s last annual report, the company experienced higher profits in 2006 due to the fact that they sold more power due to increased demand and colder weather.
This gave it 2.6 per cent more revenue than was forecast and $4.7 million greater than the last year — a hefty hunk of change.
The 2007 annuals have not yet been released, but you can rest assured the same will hold true as sales have continued to rise.
What’s going on here? Why has it been 10 years since the utilities have been subjected to a full review of how they recover their costs in rates?
Yukon Energy is making more and more money each year, but it can’t afford to rebate the consumers who own the company or lower our rates?
The utilities and the government have known for nearly a year that the Yukon Utilities Board has wanted them to submit a general rate application for review and now you are saying that it will take at least another nine months to put a filing together?
It would appear that this is just another case of the Yukon Party government promising to do what’s right for Yukoners and then Scrooging everyone in the end.
A quick response to all these questions would be greatly appreciated.
Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group
I like to believe when I read something in a newspaper that there is at least some shred of accuracy to what I’m reading.
I’m not talking, of course, about obvious tabloid and celebrity trash papers, I’m talking about the Yukon News.
Recently an article by Genesee Keevil titled Vodka on the Rocks appeared in your paper and online. She has actually earned her new nickname, “Evil Keevil,” for this one.
This article obviously was not researched whatsoever. A rant from someone with a personal vendetta was printed verbatim. You should be ashamed for including such gossip trash in print.
Comparing a legitimate business endeavour that has met all licensing, code, zoning and environmental requirements to a “bootlegger” is unconscionable!
There are also more supporters than detractors in the area. Many other skewed references are included as well.
Every licensing and inspection authority has performed due diligence in its duties approving this business. If “Evil” had done her homework she would have realized this. Perhaps this lack of journalistic integrity on her part has led her to the Yukon News as she probably can’t get a reporting job anywhere else?
In closing I would like to say two things:
You have lowered the Yukon News to a place alongside the other trash rags on the newsstand by allowing articles to be printed without any evidence to back up ridiculous claims. Shame on you!
And to Keevil, well, it might be time either for a change of career or at least an entry-level course in reporting and ethics!