Friday, July 2, 2021

Ecotrust Canada and partners, direct call for climate and equity reform towards the BC Utilities Commission

A call for reform of the British Columbia Utilities Commission has been made by seven community action organization in the province, which includes Ecotrust Canada which has local offices in Prince Rupert.

In a media release earlier this week, Ecotrust outlined the details behind a joint submission of recommendations calling for a low carbon economy and decarbonization of buildings and transportation services while seeking out more equitable access to energy for all British Columbians.

Ecotrust and its partners in the submission have expressed their concern towards the wording of the guiding legislation and the tribunal’s interpretation of it, noting how they believe that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) is ill-equipped to support the energy transition that is needed in BC. 

Among the recommendations to Government:

Decarbonization of BC’s energy system, consistent with legislated and sectoral emissions reduction targets. 

Electrification of key sectors of the economy, including buildings and transportation. 

Advancing equity and poverty reduction goals by ensuring all British Columbians have secure and affordable access to energy, and energy efficiency measures, regardless of the language they speak, previous life experience in Canada, or income. 

Advancing economic reconciliation and self-determination by providing Indigenous communities autonomy in navigating and transforming their energy systems, grounded in the community’s culture, visions, and aspirations.

The organizations have also outlined how they believe that The status quo approach need not continue indefinitely. Given appropriate enabling legislation and direction, the BCUC could be playing a leading role in enabling the transition toward a low-carbon, affordable, and equitable energy system. 

They also note that other jurisdictions, including the states of Washington and California, have explicitly incorporated climate objectives, equity, and support for low-income customers into the statutes governing their utility regulators. 

The collective has also observed that as BC looks forward to a clean energy future, the BCUC will play a critical role, either by accelerating or holding back on energy options, with Ecotrust and their partners calling for an energy transition and energy justice to protect the public interest.

Ecotrust recently published a background piece to further note their concern over some upcoming initiatives at the BCUC and how they could impact on British Columbians.

The full overview of their concerns and submission can be explored further here.

You can explore more themes from Ecotrust here.

Notes of interest from the BCUC are available from their website.

For items related to government policies see our Legislature archive.


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