Revelstoke dam on the Columbia River is due to have a sixth water turbine added

BC Hydro rates rise as demand slows

Four per cent rate hike already in effect, more to come as BC Hydro looks for savings to offset slow industrial demand

BC Hydro is going ahead with its planned four per cent rate increase this year and deferring more debt to future years as it revises its electricity demand forecast downward.

The provincially-owned utility has not asked for an increase in its government-imposed rate plan despite a revised demand forecast with $3.5 billion less revenue over the next 10 years. BC Hydro has filed a three-year plan with the B.C. Utilities Commission that would increase rates four, 3.5 and three per cent in the next three years. The four per cent increase is already showing up on customer bills as an interim increase.

With the Site C dam on the Peace River and other upgrades amounting to $2 billion a year, the plan includes additional deferred debt until 2023, when Site C is due to be completed. BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald said the long-term nature of capital projects means its capital cost savings don’t start until the next decade.

BC Hydro has also cut some of its familiar Power Smart activities, such as the fridge buy-back plan and incentives for energy efficient light bulbs.

McDonald said BC Hydro is seeing lower revenues due to two warm winters and downturns in mining and forest products. It still projects growing overall demand as population and economic growth continue.

NDP energy critic Adrian Dix said the new deferred debt represents roughly $500 for each of BC Hydro’s two million customers, and it is a political move to get the B.C. Liberal government past next year’s election.

The 10-year rates plan imposed by Energy Minister Bill Bennett in 2013 overstated demand to justify the construction of Site C, and translates to a 28 per cent rate increase. It allows the utilities commission to regain control over approving customer rates by 2020, after five years of political direction.

Dix said with the new demand forecast and commodity prices expected to remain low, BC Hydro should have added a sixth turbine to its Revelstoke dam for $450 million before embarking on the $9 billion Site C project.

 

Just Posted

Horizon North construction to start soon

The first gear will start rolling into Kitimat at the beginning of 2019

Haisla yet to sign LNG benefits deals with the province

Other First Nations already receiving cash payments

Area First Nations benefit from LNG Canada project

Agreements with province provide cash, land

Work begins on a new Haisla health centre

It will include a telehealth room, a place for visiting physiotherapists and dentists

Shames Mountain creates new fund for youth in memory of late founder

The ‘Billey Season Youth Pass’ will be given out annually

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read