Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business?

Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby Drip_Torch » Nov 19th, 2017, 2:59 pm

Give me one good reason to make "Drip's Virtual Needlepoint" storefront a licenced home-based business in Penticton?

- I could have less money to pay taxes on? Nope, not doing it for me. I could have less money on my own and don't need the city's help to make that happen.

- I could make valuable connections in the community? No offence intended, but... ugh, as soon as telus turns on the flashlight at the end of all that dark fibre their installing, I'll have speed of light access to every connected person in the world. Sorry, but what do I really need the "connected in the community" folks for?

- I could invite the village people into my home and be subjected to whatever song and dance comes up next on the hit list? Yeah, I'll pass. Given the choice between that, and calling the 1-800 number posted above from a rotary dial phone, - I'd chose to stay on hold forever. {ETA: oh, to be clear - with the 1-800 number}

There must be one good reason but, surely you can understand a bump in my power rate isn't it. It just serves as another disincentive to doing business in this town.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby JagXKR » Nov 19th, 2017, 7:38 pm

Drip_Torch wrote:Give me one good reason to make "Drip's Virtual Needlepoint" storefront a licenced home-based business in Penticton?

There must be one good reason but, surely you can understand a bump in my power rate isn't it. It just serves as another disincentive to doing business in this town.



Umm, it's the law? But I guess anarchy is one way to go. Nobody pay taxes or get licences or building permits. Free for all, woohoo!
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby Drip_Torch » Nov 19th, 2017, 9:46 pm

JagXKR wrote:Umm, it's the law? Nobody pay taxes or get licences or building permits. Free for all, woohoo!


Yeah sure, at least there is a reason.

And yet, the free spirited, pseudo polyanna, almost bald-hippee at heart individual, that I am - still doesn't believe that's going to be a good enough reason for all those basically good, certainly well intentioned, and definitely lawfully acting individuals, that we're surrounded with. I suspect someone would manufacture a "grey area", come up with a reason why the law doesn't apply as it's written, or perhaps even use "other tools" so that the commerce they are engaged in, isn't taking place in Penticton. (call it a hunch, it might be something different than that.)

I'm just saying electric rates are a bit of a disincentive. Knowing that you pay the same base rate for a business licence as the big box, with the infrastructure demands, is another. To me it looks like one of those "take more, get less", situations in the making.

How do you know if Drip's custom needlepoint solutions are being sold in Penticton? Last time I checked, the deal went down in New York, and the servers cleared the payment in Calgary - should I have to get a business licence with them too?

Bottom line: Reasonable fees, reasonable services, equals reasonable buy in.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby fluffy » Nov 20th, 2017, 7:43 am

The principle behind business licensing is sound, it's a tool to ensure public and personal safety with regards to potentially dangerous or illegal products and situations like improper storage and handling. It's a shame that that principle, like so many others, has taken a backseat to the money end of it. I support the principle, but if those concerns are not being actively investigated by those collecting the licensing fees then it's just a money grab and I don't really have much criticism for people who ignore licensing requirements. I suppose the same should go for electrical rates, it would be nice to hear some sort of justification from the city beyond what appears in the letter that is pictured in the Herald article.

The letter appears to make a special target of vacation rentals. That I can find no fault with considering the current prices and availability of long term rentals, and the fact that vacation rentals are in direct competition with the local accommodation industry. I'm encouraged by things like Toronto's recent steps to regulate this shadow industry, there are times when the greater good has to overrule personal gain.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby rustled » Nov 20th, 2017, 9:00 am

Smith doesn't do vacation rentals, though. It would be interesting to know who else got the letter, and what kind of business they operate from their home.

It seems to me business licences should provide the city with a great deal of data about what's happening where, so they understand where and how income is generated in the city.

For residents, the purpose of a business licence should go beyond public and personal safety. They are also something of a tool to ensure home based business operators think about their neighbours, so our neighbourhoods aren't overcome with vehicular and foot traffic. Hence the restriction on the number of visits to the home business per day, and the restriction against on-site employees.

I don't think anyone wants to live in a "crack-down, letter of the law" city. I'd prefer rational and reasonable bylaws and policies, with thoughtful enforcement. It's like the illegal suite situation. We needed more rentals, and many people needed a mortgage helper from time to time. But we also want landlords to provide safe accommodation that doesn't disrupt the neighbours. For planning, the city needed some understanding of how many people lived in rental suites. No point cracking down on them without understanding the consequences. We have new bylaws to reflect the need (the reality), and policy enforcement is complaint driven because there is no end gain in stopping people from doing something that is actually providing a benefit to the community and not causing anyone a problem. If your non-compliant rental is not bothering the neighbours, and your renters are cozy and comfortable, shutting them down should not be a priority.

Same with the home based businesses. I've no idea how many of the home based businesses in our neighbourhood are licenced. There are at least 6 on our block, and only one of them is a nuisance. It's a very minor nuisance, and I'd rather my neighbour was able to continue providing his service than see bylaw cracking down on him. We've had far worse neighbours who didn't have businesses but were very disruptive (noisy fights at all hours of the night). I'd rather bylaw was dealing with issues that do negatively impact the neighbourhood, and the city.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby pentona » Nov 20th, 2017, 9:42 am

I personally believe that if everyone who runs a business out of their home (or anywhere) took out a business license, then there would be no need for the city to talk about increasing electrical rates. Why should some folks not pay, when most do? I doubt that is the case with most downtown businesses, so why should it be any different when based out of the home? Do some folks just feel that they are "above the law" and that rules don't apply to them?
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby rustled » Nov 20th, 2017, 9:49 am

pentona wrote:I personally believe that if everyone who runs a business out of their home (or anywhere) took out a business license, then there would be no need for the city to talk about increasing electrical rates. Why should some folks not pay, when most do? I doubt that is the case with most downtown businesses, so why should it be any different when based out of the home? Do some folks just feel that they are "above the law" and that rules don't apply to them?

I'd say it's more a "cost-benefit" for the smallest businesses. You're looking to supplement the family income with Mary Kay or custom cakes or widgets turned out in your workshop, and you have to spend a bit to set yourself up, including the outlay for a business licence. So you forego that for the time being, and then you worry the licence will open up some kind of can of worms. Like the licence says you can only have one customer per day show up to pick up their cosmetics or their cake, and there's no way to organize for that. You might have four in one day, and nobody else for a week or two. What's bylaw going to do to you? You're not sure. Best to fly under the radar, not invite their interest.

If they're going to start charging more for your household electricity, what's next? That's another reason to stay under the radar. After all, you're making a pittance and not hurting anyone.

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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby Drip_Torch » Nov 20th, 2017, 7:35 pm

Why should some folks not pay, when most do? (Snip) Do some folks just feel that they are "above the law" and that rules don't apply to them?


I dunno, why do some people steal Mountain Bikes, when most don’t?

I don’t think, in terms of business licencing, it’s really a matter of lawlessness. Matter of fact, I think fluffy and rustled offered some very good explanations of some of the forces at play. I used the mountain bikes to segue into my own story of why I’m not likely to ever have anything to do with the business licencing department. I’m offering you this story, not as an axe to grind against the city, but as something you might consider while watching the city approach compliance issues.

A couple of years ago I talked a couple into moving to Penticton. We have shared experience, and to some degree, success in our previous industry. All of us decided it was time to move on to other things. They went much further east for a while, and I settled here. When we came together again there was talk amongst us of all the possibilities we could explore together in this new setting. We all saw a number of possibilities and a lot of potential.

My friend and I kicked around a few bigger ideas and his wife had a skill set and training that allowed her to pull her business plan out of a box. That worked for us… you go first, and we’ll watch what happens.

First and on the positive side, the business licencing process was easy for her to navigate. Finding a suitable small commercial space that was available for rent was also painless. Then came the building department inspection. Let me first say, who wouldn’t pay a reasonable fee to have a professional with experience in building regulations do an assessment? To try and navigate through the codes, regulations and standards, on your own is not something most people would be familiar with, and the cost to even buy access to those codes is fairly substantial on its own.

The building inspection was painless, in fact too painless, and the source of the first phone call. “Bring your camera, you’re not going to believe this”, were the words my friend used. What’s going on, I wondered, as I drove downtown? Into the commercial space I went, after looking over the positive building inspection report. The space was basically a 10X10 office, maybe a little larger, with one window, 4 plug outlets and a light switch. Not much, in the way of a complex building inspection.

The light switch was an open box, no plate cover, 3 of the outlets were also sans plate covers and the fourth was badly cracked and pulled out of the wall. Did she feel she got her money’s worth out of the inspection? Nope, not at all, in fact, she found herself in an awkward position of either having to approach her building owner with her concerns, or hire an electrician to deal with it quietly. Not much to take to the owner, since the inspection report clearly showed no issues, so not one to create noise, or cause problems she dealt with it.

All three of us have dealt with actors; A-list, B-list, posers, wantabes and johnny comelately’s, we’ve got vast experience to draw on and we can spot them from miles away. Actors, for the most part are good people, fun to be around, but they rarely become more than friends for a reason, or friends for a season – at best friends for a few seasons and very occasionally something a little bit more. That’s okay, but experience tell us not to let them too close, or expect too much.

Her next experience was with actors, only in this case commercial neighbours. Where are you from? How’d you get here? what are you doing? How do you make money at that? Is there money at that? How do you do that again? What was your taxable income last year on line… ? I didn’t get the impression that they weren’t likable, or genuine, but I did get the impression that she felt they were “busy”. I dunno, May-be we’re all born with a certain quota of patience for plastic relationships and once it’s filled you’re done.

Meanwhile, buddy and I, had decided we need to find some shop space, not really to launch a business venture, but to consolidate the elements to launch a business venture from – kick around a few projects that we enjoy working on. As luck would have it, we happened along a certain space on Carmi Road that just so happened to be in the city’s sights. Did we hear some positive and reassuring reviews from the artisan working in that space? Yeah, no.

I was also dealing with my own city situation, although at the time it didn’t really colour my outlook too much. It’s not like I haven’t heard no, or you can’t do that, from city officials before. Matter of fact, I’ve heard it lots and I’ve had to work through the issues with city officials on numerous occasions in my professional life. Unfortunately,around this time my issue with the city started turning surreal and neither I, nor my friend, could ignore some things that were becoming apparent.

I’m not going into details, but I will offer a little backstory on how I look at city issues, and why I see them the way I do.

Back in 1987, when the film industry was still a small but growing concern, based mainly out of empty warehouses, and centered on Cannell formula of small pyro technical action sequences involving car crashes; I went to work on a feature film that called for a gas station to be “blown up”. The location was chosen, Pender and Keefer, in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. An abandoned gas station – perfect. As I’m sure you can imagine, when we approached the City of Vancouver, the police, fire and bylaw departments, etc…, and told them we were going to create an explosion sequence in this abandoned gas station – everyone involved said, “oh yeah - sure, no problem”. Not.

Ha ha ha, - Yeah, NO! NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! CAN’T HAPPEN! Blah, blah, words, codes, laws, more words and, NO. And, I can tell you now, here in Penticton that most definitely would have been the end of it.

Thankfully, for my careers sake, Penticton’s approach to problems like this is the exception, and not the rule. That gas station provided the perfect fireball and the debris thrown from it during the explosion sequence was visually stunning.

For the production company, problems like this have an intensive and comprehensive approach that mirrors the approach local government’s take to managing emergencies. It starts with a hazard assessment (HRVA), but that assessment never really finishes and is instead an ongoing assessment process. Then we go into what local governments would call the four phases of emergency management. Only for us, there are three phases and our goal is to never let our event take on any aspect of becoming an emergency. Mitigation isn’t really a phase to us, it’s an ongoing process that we maintain through the three phases of our event.

We do our pre-event planning, identify the risks, codes, regulations, occupational health and safety requirements: depending on our statutory requirements and risk assessment findings, we might bring in subject matter experts. This all happens in a very rigid departmentalized system, similar to the BC ICS system that would be employed in an emergency. The hairdresser doesn’t speak to costume issues, the electrician doesn’t speak to SPFX issues… We poll our neighbourhoods for support and to familiarize them with what we’re going to do. We cover our technical requirements, regulatory concerns, OH&S requirements, plan, plan, and plan some more. We dot I’s and cross t’s and work with the stakeholders in good faith making sure that they understand our full intentions. This is not ever handled as something that might be is easier to beg forgiveness for. We all take it very seriously and we need our AHJ’s to take it very seriously too. Open, good faith, forthright communication and that often involves conflict – conflict that must be resolved.

Next phase, we go into is our operational phase at the location. We’ve secured our permitting and start preparing our set. We lock the location down – it’s ours and nothing happens that isn’t in our plan. Our inspections are scheduled and the focus is solely, the agencies inspection regime. Our various departments work from a set of standard operational guidelines and everyone knows what is expected of them. We have representatives from our locations department in the immediate community providing two-way communication with the stakeholders. We put redundant safety mechanisms in every step of the way, and long before the day, every department will have completed dry runs of their various roles. Throughout it all, hazards are assessed and measures are put in place to mitigate both our risks, and our potential impact on our surroundings. As more resources are put in place, our security and mitigation measure are increased. Finally, on the day, we’ll have resources from the city in place to assist us with our event. We’ll have police locking down the location with us, Fire will be standing by, not to take part in our event, but as an extra measure. We’ll have paramedics from BC Ambulance standing by to takeover for our own first aid attendants – if we ask. Every step of the way, our plan is consulted and executed, our mitigation measures are updated and we do everything we can to lessen our immediate impact on our surroundings.

Finally, our gag is completed, the fire ball goes up in the air, the debris comes blowing out the windows and it’s all over - well, no, not really. We start the comprehensive recovery phase and again this has all been pre-planned and everyone knows what’s expected. Our location will remain locked down and under our exclusive control until we know there are no risks. Gas systems are removed, various types of pyro secured and removed. Technicians will disable the various gear used in the gag and locations will immediately begin polling our neighbourhood to hear and communicate any concerns stakeholders have from the event. Our power system is removed and our location is restored, or at least secured in a safe state. When we’re completely out of a neighbourhood, we release our set to the owner and we start our after action meetings to make sure we’re good and there were no issues that could come back and bite the company. Ultimately, we restore the location to at least its original condition or better.

Often times, long after the production has moved on, the issues, lessons learned, will live on through our technical people in the guilds and unions. Everyone involved, was employed the company, but really, they work for the industry.

Oh, but I digress – and terribly this time. I was going to tell you about a Mountain Bike and the topic is increased power rates… forgive me.

So, none of us are into watching actors rehearse lines. The wife is craving her own space without feeling other people are vicariously involved in her business. My buddy and I are resigned to the fact that Penticton isn’t likely the best, or even a viable location for any ventures we’d be into entertaining. If we were interested in opening a box, chain or franchise, this city would probably be, as good a place to be, as anywhere else. And then my friend has his second mountain bike stolen from the only place that he’s allowed to store his mountain bikes. Awesome position to be in, follow the rules and be victimized – repeatedly. To the apparent shrug of the person putting the rules in place.

They broke their lease, closed the business, put all their stuff into storage. When they came to retrieve their possessions, in mid-July, the height of our tourist season, they showed up at 9:00 am, loaded the truck and were gone by 12:30 pm. Apparently, there is a good restaurant in Princeton, where they planned to stop for a late lunch. Hmm…

Look, I like it here. I don’t have any time to be dispensing any hate on the city, they’ve wasted more than enough of my time. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t take a moment or two to try and make this a better place to be. I would suggest you shouldn’t be too worried about the fee’s the city won’t be getting from Drip’s needlepoint online ventures – you’ve really got bigger concerns.

Ugh, you know that outside of Penticton, corporations pay Municipalities fees to run big events – right? Yeah, that’s right, the cheques usually get mailed the other way.

Power rates, for home-based businesses, - not the biggest problem, in my opinion, just another disincentive for home based businesses to come on line. Probably the easiest, by far, to fix.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby OkanaganBookkeeper » Dec 27th, 2017, 11:40 pm

Ridiculous. I guess Penticton just needs to reinforce their reputation as being an anti-business and anti-growth community.

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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby twobits » Dec 29th, 2017, 8:07 pm

Drip_Torch wrote:
Why should some folks not pay, when most do? (Snip) Do some folks just feel that they are "above the law" and that rules don't apply to them?


I dunno, why do some people steal Mountain Bikes, when most don’t?

I don’t think, in terms of business licencing, it’s really a matter of lawlessness. Matter of fact, I think fluffy and rustled offered some very good explanations of some of the forces at play. I used the mountain bikes to segue into my own story of why I’m not likely to ever have anything to do with the business licencing department. I’m offering you this story, not as an axe to grind against the city, but as something you might consider while watching the city approach compliance issues.

A couple of years ago I talked a couple into moving to Penticton. We have shared experience, and to some degree, success in our previous industry. All of us decided it was time to move on to other things. They went much further east for a while, and I settled here. When we came together again there was talk amongst us of all the possibilities we could explore together in this new setting. We all saw a number of possibilities and a lot of potential.

My friend and I kicked around a few bigger ideas and his wife had a skill set and training that allowed her to pull her business plan out of a box. That worked for us… you go first, and we’ll watch what happens.

*snip*


I got the point but I am sure you lost most readers at the second paragraph.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby Drip_Torch » Jan 3rd, 2018, 10:13 pm

twobits wrote:I got the point but I am sure you lost most readers at the second paragraph.


Hey twobits, I owe you a couple of apologies. One for dragging you through that post.

I'm sure I could have just wrote " The KISS principle applies to small business licencing and fees", and you would have understood what I was saying. That's how I would have expressed it on twitter.

Unfortunately, I have "a few other castanet readers" that obstinately refuse to get the point to anything write, and would do so even if I could drive it thru their foot with a sledge hammer. For them, apparently, it's the journey, and I felt they had earned a little something to ping away their day on.

Yes, I can weave together a story, too - and I do apologize to the innocent victims.

The other apology is for the belated best wishes for the new year I'm sending out to you and yours. Usually, I sneak it into a post before it's all over, but I put castanet aside for a couple weeks this year. Just know, the thought was there and I do sincerely wish you, and the other regulars, all the best this year!

:130:
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby twobits » Jan 4th, 2018, 8:02 pm

Dealing with stupid is never simple Drip. Cheers back at ya and best in New Year.
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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby rustled » Jan 23rd, 2018, 4:59 pm

Good news, IMO:
Home-based businesses will be treated no differently than residential customers by the City of Penticton’s electrical utility department, council decided Tuesday.

Council voted to collapse the two rate categories together following a presentation from electrical utility manager Shawn Filice.

“After listening to community feedback, I can’t justify from a technical perspective why home-based businesses should be billed any different when compared to residential services,” he said.

https://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton ... ate-killed

Also, IMO, good news about solar/net metering:
Members of the city’s Development Services Advisory Committee argued the city should be covering the $2,000 cost to hookup to the net metering program, an idea that fell flat.

“If I choose to put in solar, it would be for me, and I should be the one bearing that cost,” Coun. Campbell Watt said.


Council also directed its utility department to continue buying excess power at wholesale rates, not retail rates as requested by the committee.

If my better-off neighbours can afford solar to reduce their power bills, that's great. But it shouldn't be up to my less-well-off neighbours to help fund these better-off folks' money-saving strategies.

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Re: Penticton to increase electrical rates for home business

Postby Drip_Torch » Jan 23rd, 2018, 5:46 pm

rustled wrote:Good news, IMO:


:smt045

Good on them for listening and giving this the consideration that it deserved.

rustled wrote:...it shouldn't be up to my less-well-off neighbours to help fund these better-off folks' money-saving strategies.


Bang on - again.

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