BC Hydro rate increases hurting schools, says NDP

Government says schools must ‘pay their share’ for electricity, but NDP says it means cuts to education

CBC News Posted: Apr 06, 2015 1:12 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 06, 2015 4:57 PM PT

Adrian Dix said schools already struggling to find money, including Renfrew Elementary in East Vancouver, are being squeezed by BC Hydro rate increases. (Jacy Schindel/CBC) 
Adrian Dix spoke to media about higher hydro bills in front of Renfrew Elementary in East Vancouver April 6. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

Higher prices on electricity will cost school boards $6.87 million this year, and have already cost $30 million over five years, said Adrian Dix, the NDP critic for BC Hydro. “All of it is being dealt with by school districts with cuts in the classroom,” said Dix. “Parents are paying more, and their kids are getting less.” BC Hydro rates increased six per cent April 1 as part of a 28 per cent hike over five years approved by the government.

Schools ‘pay their share,’ says government

Energy minister Bill Bennett said he understands every dollar counts, but the increases make up less than one-tenth of one per cent of overall school district budgets. The province is not considering capping or exempting schools from BC Hydro increases. “If everyone doesn’t pay their share of the cost of running BC Hydro, then someone else will have to pay more,” said Bennett. “If B.C. schools pay less then ratepayers are going to have to pay more.” Bennett said the province has offered Power Smart efficiency upgrades that have helped schools save a total of $3.5 million over three years. The Vancouver School Board said it has budgeted for the increase, but is still hoping the province can find a more long-term solution to changing prices. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-hydro-rate-increases-hurting-schools-says-ndp-1.3022557

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