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

Camosun student starts bursary program for low-income students

The Jor-Dawn Smith Bursary will go to one Greater Victoria graduate in spring 2020

Victoria property company plans to replace Saanich apartments with townhouses

Abstract Developments plans 26 townhouses for Gorge Road West

Royal Bay students tackle climate change solutions

Students welcomes the public, presents 95 projects dealing with climate change

Full buses leave Colwood woman fuming over commute from West Shore

BC Transit plans to add eight double-deckers in 2020, will rotate on 50 and 61 routes

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read