Friday, October 1, 2010

GST/HST/LICAT Credits Benefit Low-Income Households, P2

This is a follow-up to the discussion in the comments section of my original post, specifically to the suggestion promoted by the anti-HST campaign that British Columbians' hydro bills will go up because of the HST.*

At the time, I hadn't received a BC Hydro bill covering a period after July 1st, when the HST kicked in. It happens that BC Hydro adjusted the billing period for this area around that time, so I didn't get the expected bi-monthly bill that would normally have been due in the third week of August. The bill I've just received covers the almost four-month period from June 3rd to September 28, which catches us up to the new bi-monthly billing cycle.

Before I get to reporting on my bill, note this from the BC Hydro website:

Effective July 1, 2010, BC will harmonize the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) with the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). It is important to note that the price you pay for electricity will not be affected by the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) but your bill will look different.

Once the HST takes effect, BC Hydro customers will see a bill that shows the 12% HST applied to energy charges, products and services, instead of the 7% PST and the 5% GST. However, BC Hydro Residential customers will also see a 7% credit from the Province of B.C. as a separate line called the Residential Energy Credit.

In addition, as of July 1, 2010 BC Hydro customers will no longer be required to pay the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund levy (0.4%) on electricity.

Now to my bill...

BC Hydro Electric Charges

Jun 03 to Jun 30
Basic charge: 28 days @ $0.13410 /day        3.75*
Usage charge:¹
  Step 1: 100 kW.h @ $0.06270 /kW.h          6.27*
  Step 2: 0 kW.h @ $0.08780 /kW.h            0.00
Rate Rider at 4.0%                           0.40*
Innovative Clean Energy Fund Levy at 0.4%    0.04

Jul 01 to Sep 28
Basic charge: 90 days @ $0.13410 /day       12.07*
Usage charge:¹
  Step 1: 322 kW.h @ $0.06270 /kW.h         20.19*  
  Step 2: 0 kW.h @ $0.08780 /kW.h            0.00
Rate Rider at 4.0%                           1.29*
* GST                                        0.52
* HST                                        4.03
Residential Energy Credit                    2.35CR
TOTAL 46.21

The following is a summary of taxes billed to your
account since your last invoice:
GST on 10.42                        0.52
HST on 33.55                        4.03

I am not paying more for hydro because of the HST.

Were there no HST, the GST on $33.55 would be $1.68. Subtract the Residential Energy Credit of $2.35 from the HST charge of $4.03. You get $1.68.

There is plenty wrong with the way the BC Liberal government mishandled this issue. There is plenty wrong with the Liberals' overall conduct and flagrant flouting of democratic process. But facts are facts. The anti-HST campaign was lying when it claimed British Columbians would be paying more for their hydro because of the HST.

Early January, I'll do a six-month report of the effect of the HST on this household's budget.


*A recent opinion piece in my local paper suggests that BC Hydro rates are about to go up 70% over the next five years (!) but this is unrelated to the HST.

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