Unplugged

PERHAPS council members were flushed with pre-election adrenalin.

PERHAPS council members were flushed with pre-election adrenalin or just overeager in wanting to appear environmentally friendly, but their decision to buy BC Hydro’s test electric hybrid car is a bad one.

This is not to dismiss electric vehicles. Where city council went wrong is in the economics.

BC Hydro provided the car to the city last year to determine if a vehicle of its kind could withstand the northwest climate. The crown corporation also spent $30,000 modifying the car to equip it with a battery that could also be recharged by plugging it in, something the city also wanted to test in the north. This battery carries a limited three-year warranty. After that, the replacement battery cost is an estimated $14,000. It’s easy for the bill to start adding up.

But where the project goes completely off the rails is why the city would want to spend money on a car it and taxpayers had already purchased anyway.

That’s right. Crown corporation BC Hydro needed cash in the first place to set up its experimental car program and that can only come from one place – taxpayers in the form of ever-rising electricity rates.

So when BC Hydro offered the car to city council and it agreed to buy the vehicle, local taxpayers, through the city, paid twice for the vehicle.

So think of that when you see another BC Hydro rate increase come through and when the city says it needs to raise your taxes.