Public Comments Invited on BC Hydro Residential Rates

Jul 08, 2016
Affected Communities: 
All Areas

This impacts residents and property owners throughout the SLRD: particularly in the communities of D’arcy, Devine, Birken, Pemberton, Mount Currie, Lillooet Lake Estates, Gold Bridge, Bralorne, McGillvray, Lillooet, Pavilion, Seton Portage, Fountain Valley, Texas Creek, Britannia Beach, Pinecrest Estates and Ring Creek. For more information, see the Information Report prepared for the SLRD Board, "Information Report - British Columbia Utilities Commission Residential Inclining Block Rate Report", by scrolling down to pages 275 - 280 of the July 27 2016 Agenda.

Request for Comments on Residential Inclining Block Electricity Rates

If you do not have access to natural gas, the province wants to hear from you about your hydro bills.

BC Hydro's two-tier pricing system (called the "residential inclining block electricity rates") means that after a household has consumed 1350 kWh of hydro (in a 2 month period), you pay a premium for your electricity (12.23 cents per kWh, instead of 8.29 cents.) (Source: BC Hydro.)

It is intended to encourage conservation — the cleanest, cheapest and simplest way to meet growing electricity demand.

BC Hydro advises customers, "if you're trying to avoid hitting that Step 2 rate, keep an eye on the biggest electricity draws in your home to help reduce your usage. Heating is the big one. For the average B.C. household, about 50 per cent of home energy use over the year is for space heating." (*Source: BC Hydro.)

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) and FortisBC Inc are composing a report, at the Minister's request, on the impact this rate structure has on customers who don't have access to natural gas.

The Province received complaints that residents without access to natural gas face abnormally large electricity bills because they can’t subsidize their electricity usage with natural gas for heating their homes and water and thus incur a disproportionally large amount of electricity usage in the second tier.

"My colleagues and I have heard concerns from the public that the residential inclining block rates may have unreasonable bill impacts on some customers. One of the concerns was that rural customers do not have the option of heating their homes using natural gas." Minister Bill Bennett, July 6 2015 

In particular, it has been argued that two-tier electricity pricing doesn't result in energy conservation in rural areas where natural gas is not available - residents without access to natural gas only have wood-burning as a viable heating alternative.

If you are a residential electricity customer of BC Hydro or FortisBC without access to natural gas, the Commission is seeking your comments on:

  • the impacts you have experienced or identified from the residential inclining block electricity rates; and
  • your awareness of ways to mitigate any impacts.

Please provide your comments using the Commission’s Letter of Comment Form found online at http://www.bcuc.com/Register-Letter-of-Comment.aspx.

All comments must be received in writing.

Please send your written comments by email or mail to the Commission Secretary on or before Monday, August 15, 2016 at:

Email: Commission.Secretary@bcuc.com
Mail: Ms. Laurel Ross
Acting Commission Secretary
BC Utilities Commission
Sixth Floor, 900 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2N3

By providing a letter of comment in this process, you agree to your comments being placed on the public record and posted on the Commission’s website. All letters of comment are placed on the public record, posted on the Commission’s website and provided to the Panel and all participants in the proceeding.

All of the documents related to this matter are available on the Commission’s website at: http://www.bcuc.com/ApplicationView.aspx?ApplicationId=506

For more information please contact the Commission using the contact information above or by phone at 1-800-663-1385.

 

 

 

 

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