Hard on the heels of a leaked report stating B.C. Hydro customers can look forward to a rate hike of up to 26 per cent in the near future comes unfortunately timed information about the bloated salaries paid to many at the Crown corporation.
According to a recent report, almost half of those working for the utility make more than $100,000, while more than 10 per cent make more than $150,000. Top executives made far more.
It's all extremely bad optics for a corporation pleading poverty and sending earnest messages about how the piper will soon have to be paid.
And what do those exorbitant salaries get us, as paying customers? Is the service B.C. Hydro gives us "second-to-none"? Well, from a purely semantic angle, yes, it is - only because there is no second option with which to compare.
Residents in our neighbouring province may claim things are no better there, but at very least, they have the opportunity to shop for rates and determine for themselves whether the service rendered is worth the money paid.
Speaking of the piper, it's certainly true that many of B.C. Hydro's large structural issues that have led to a financial crunch can be laid at the feet of the province.
It was the province that decided B.C. Hydro must buy power from independent power producers at higher than market rates. It's the province that has also repeatedly dipped into the Hydro piggy bank to prop up its own dubious budgeting practices.
In terms of the over-the-top salaries, however, the corporation itself stands to squarely to blame.
The latest revelation comes two years after a public report criticized B.C. Hydro for its high salaries. It also comes at a time when the province is supposedly cracking down on exorbitant packages paid in the public sector.
When it comes to tightening belts at B.C. Hydro, or even an appreciation of reality, it seems the lights are on, but nobody's ever home.
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