After moving cash around at the direction of the Public Utilities Board, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro was able to move the anticipated rate increase for individual customers down to around 8.5 per cent.
You can call that robbing Peter to pay Paul, or you can call it fiscal pragmatism to keep customers from near-revolt, but no one should think that we’re out of the woods on electrical bills just yet.
The simple fact is that Hydro, when asked to mitigate that 18.6 per cent rate increase, pointed out that more increases are coming, saying “While Hydro understands the Board’s efforts to mitigate the material rate increases projected for July 1, 2017, Hydro is concerned that the options being considered to mitigate rate increases at this time to avoid ‘rate shock’ could result in a more significant rate increase in the near future when other rate increases are required.”
So, on to that next rate increase.
Because there will be one — and sooner than you think. The utility is due to file its next general rate increase application, for power rates starting in 2018, in July.
I’ve been keeping track of the steady increase in capital work that Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro has been doing, and not just for my own health.
General rate increases follow a set formula — it’s a complicated one, but it’s not completely impenetrable, at least as long as you are willing to accept that back-of-the-envelope calculations aren’t anywhere near as accurate as using real numbers and real accountants and forecasters.