Strange, strange world

Strange, strange world Re Yukon Electrical Ltd. rate increase: The Yukon Utilities Board rendered its decision regarding the Yukon Electrical Ltd. rate application compliance. This regulator got out its big rubber stamp and gave the private utility compa

Re Yukon Electrical Ltd. rate increase:

The Yukon Utilities Board rendered its decision regarding the Yukon Electrical Ltd. rate application compliance.

This regulator got out its big rubber stamp and gave the private utility company a 10.526 per cent increase for 2009.

Although you will only see a 4.145 per cent shortfall rider on your billing, beware that another $4.8 million was usurped from ratepayers through the flow-through of Rider F, the fuel price variance rider.

In other words, the electrical company’s overcharged us this amount in the months prior when fuel oil prices dropped and the board awarded them the right to now use this money to make up for their revenue shortfall.

How convenient. Welcome to the world of privately run utilities with profits going to Alberta.

This is a very slippery slope when the regulator, the Yukon Utilities Board, takes such action as they are dabbling in the realm commonly called an intergenerational gap.

This is where one ratepayer overpays into a rider, such as the fuel rider, for several months and then moves away before getting any of this back.

Or someone who moves into the community who has not paid into the rider, yet is now receiving this break on their electrical bills. All it would take is for one angry customer to take them to court for such an inequity. Welcome to the regulatory world!

As I write, we have our Crown corporation, Yukon Energy, applying for a 3.5 per cent decrease due to the hooking up and selling of power to Minto mine.

If this publicly owned utility did not have such an emerging and costly bureaucracy, especially the management end, we could enjoy an even greater bonus from this infrastructure, mostly built by our tax dollars.

Welcome to the world of government-run utilities!

And, finally, if we had a regulator with enough balls to hold both these bad boys to their own board’s prior counsel to file early combined rate applications, as well as cost allocation and rate design, to be considered all in one hearing, it would cost the ratepayer about half of the $2 million it’s going to cost.

Welcome to the world of administrative bumbling!

Roger Rondeau, president

Utilities Consumers’ Group

Whitehorse