Campaign volunteer Marc Dixon, Liberal candidate Marc Dalton and volunteer Peter Nagy are into election mode after the B.C. election writ was issued Tuesday. That allows the campaign to begin and signs to go up. The Liberals plan on putting up 160 billboard signs in Maple Ridge-Mission

Campaign volunteer Marc Dixon, Liberal candidate Marc Dalton and volunteer Peter Nagy are into election mode after the B.C. election writ was issued Tuesday. That allows the campaign to begin and signs to go up. The Liberals plan on putting up 160 billboard signs in Maple Ridge-Mission

Maple Ridge-Mission NDP say tolls, Hydro bills, car premiums, just forms of taxes

NDP wants to freeze BC Hydro rates, that will hurt company, counter Liberals

On top of giving motorists a break by scrapping tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge, the NDP also wants to make it easier on everybody in B.C. by not increasing B.C. Hydro rates.

NDP leader John Horgan made the announcement Monday, without saying for what length of period.

B.C. Hydro is in the middle of a 10-year plan that calls for annual rate increases. This April, rates went up by 3.5 per cent, about another $3.75 a month for the average residential customer. Last year, they jumped by four per cent. Next year, the increase will be three per cent.

“We’re going to freeze Hydro rates. They’ve gone up 87 per cent since the B.C. Liberals took power,” said NDP Maple Ridge-Mission candidate Bob D’Eith.

“They’ve done a very poor job managing Hydro and we have to get that under control. But the first thing is it should be on the backs of consumers.”

It’s all part of the party’s plan to make life more affordable.

D’Eith said the party’s platform that comes out this week will give the costs.

“Christy Clark is making choices for millionaires, we’re going to make choices for working people, families,” he said of the premier.

D’Eith added that tolls, Hydro rates and ICBC premiums are just different forms of taxes.

Liberal candidate Marc Dalton, though, said freezing B.C. Hydro rates would hurt the company and it wouldn’t be able to upgrade its infrastructure, such as the Ruskin Dam in Mission, which is almost complete, a $748-million renovation.

He said under the NDP, B.C. Hydro infrastructure deteriorated.

“By holding [rates] artificially low like that, it’s just going to mean increasing taxes elsewhere.”

Dalton pointed out that the practice of taking surpluses from B.C. Hydro and putting them into general government revenues began with the NDP.

And the Liberals have started the process of reducing those withdrawals to zero over four years, he added.