BC Hydro wants 10-per-cent rate hike for next 3 years
BC Hydro is forecasting a rate hike of about 10 per cent a year in each of the next three years.
The bump comes as the utility undertakes the largest expansion of electrical infrastructure in the province's history, to meet a growing demand for power in British Columbia.
The investment cost will be footed by consumers, setting back homeowners who used to pay an average $71 per month about $7 a year.
"The majority of our generating stations and dams, along with our transmission and distribution, were built in the '50s, '60s, '70s, and are old and aging and need renewal," Hydro president Dave Cobb said in an interview.
"It's a $2 billion infrastructure program, it needs to be recovered from our ratepayers."
Cobb said the utility is still attempting to keep rates manageable in several ways.
Among other things, BC Hydro is doing a core services review of operating costs, and implementing programs to help consumers save power and therefore save money.
Plus, it's offering assistance programs to eligible low-income households, including free home energy evaluations and retrofits.
"Even though with those increases we'll still have very, very competitive rates in North America, it's our responsibility to mitigate the increases as much as we can," Cobb said.
The utility is still awaiting approval from the BC Utilities Commission.
Cobb explained the same endeavour happened last year, with the difference now being the company wants to have rates settled for the next three years. After that period is up, the utility will likely boost rates again, he said.
BC Hydro will spend $6 billion total over the next three years to build new systems to meet demand and install smart metres in every household to help customers manage their electricity consumption.