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Multi-million dollar program to aid pulp industry

The province is offering $100-million to help pulp mills boost energy efficiency in the face of a 28 per cent increase in BC Hydro rates over the next 5 years.
The program applies to mills that produce so-called thermo-mechanical pulp, so Nanaimo’s Harmac doesn’t qualify.  It produces strictly kraft pulp.
HSPP in Port Mellon could qualify for as much as $17-million, Catalyst’s operations in Crofton, Port Alberni and Powell River could see a combined $45-million.
The announcement of the new program, which will be run through BC Hydro’s PowerSmart, was made by Energy Minister Bill Bennett.  “Government and BC Hydro have worked closely with large industrial power users to find collaborative ways to reduce their electricity costs and make investments in energy efficiency that will benefit all ratepayers. This new program is a key part of our 10 Year Plan commitment to provide customers with tools to manage their energy costs as BC Hydro makes investments to maintain and grow our electricity system,” he says.
The NDP says the announcement is an effort by the Liberals to fix a mess they created through mismanaging BC Hydro.
The NDP’s Adrian Dix, says it does nothing to help small business or residential customers who are also being hurt by the hikes.  “Inept Liberal policies put the entire pulp sector in jeopardy, so some action on Hydro rates is welcome news,” says Dix. “But the Liberals have been to blame from the beginning.”
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