An Open Letter to the BC Utilities Corporation

Here's a letter I just sent to the BC Utilities Corporation. Consider echoing your sentiments along the same lines to their complaints department.

Dear Sir/Madam:

My complaint about Natural Gas Marketing in BC is simple enough you may find it easy to write off as some crank. Please do not. It consists of no more than five words.


I remember seeing a flakey survey go by that was worded in such a way as to elicit more yes than no responses and did not do anything to lay out the potential repercussions of deregulating natural gas sales in BC. Salespeople for these marketers have come to my home and those of several of my friends. The offer presented to us would have seen an immediate 12.5% jump in our gas rates, at least. Others have been told "Just sign here. You're not really committing to anything."

Deregulating phone service is not a bad idea since telecommunications bandwidth is practically infinite, totally fungible and easy to do without. Natural Gas, though, while being mostly fungible is neither infinite in supply nor easy to do without. Deregulating its distribution at all exposes the citizens of this province to the speculative vagaries of the marketplace in a way that government for the people ought not to do.

As for the advertising campaign unleashed at the same time, it is abusive in the extreme, implying that if you don't want choice on your natural gas, you must be a boring person who always wears gray socks, always eats turnips and always reads the same books. It looks to this citizen (not just customer!) distinctly like an attempt by yet another multinational corporation (Kinder Morgan) to use governmental agencies (the BCUC) to gain an opportunity to gouge its customers at will (through gas marketing proxies) and deflect the responsibility for the debacle back on the customer ("if only you hadn't signed that piece of paper..."). In all probability, what we are seeing is not such a nefarious conspiracy but it tastes bad. Really bad.

So I return to my five simple words. Get rid of this stupid situation and go back to doing your duty to the citizens of BC:


Expect to get more letters like this in the coming days. I will be sending the above letter to my local newspapers, posting it to my blog and forwarding its contents to a number of my friends. With any luck (my luck, that is), some of them will forward similar sentiments to you. I hope there'll be enough to reverse this silly decision, whose public process I do not remember seeing any timely publicity on.


name and address blinded, Aldergrove, BC

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