VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The premier is defending her decision to get involved in proposed BC Hydro rate increases.

Christy Clark says when she was elected as premier, the Crown Corporation was looking to raise rates by 50 per cent — a number she thought was too high. So, she and the Liberals overruled a hearing by the BC Utilities Commission so the government could set its own rates, which are not as high, but are still going up.

“The BC Utilities Commission has a different job than the government. My job is to make sure citizens in this province have a little bit of an easier time to try and get by in tough economic times,” states Clark.

She notes the idea is the eight per cent increase this year and the 1.4 per cent for next year is to help people deal with less of a costly burden.

Clark also doesn’t understand why people are upset with the move now. “I disagreed with the BC Utilities Commission and I am keeping my promise that we keep BC Hydro increases as low as we can.”

The premier also defended her government’s decision to trump the commission. The NDP say the Liberals are using their power to bypass an independent authority.

“The Liberal government’s focus is on short-term political gain. They’re making decisions based on what’s best for them in the coming election, instead of what a government is supposed to do, which is make decisions in the interests of all British Columbians,” believes NDP Energy Critic John Horgan, calling it “crass” and “incredibly cynical.”

A review of BC Hydro has also been put off until after next May’s general election.