British Columbians should prepare to see an increase on their electricity bill as BC Hydro spends $6 billion to replace aging infrastructure over the next three years.

This week the company will apply to the BC Utilities Commission for approval of an $800-million upgrade of the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse near Mission, east of Vancouver. The facility was last upgraded in the 1950s.

Hydro president Dave Cobb says its regeneration phase will put "upward pressure" on rates, but it is still committed to keeping rates the lowest in North America.

He says the utility will focus on conservation strategies to help meet the target of providing 66 per cent of new electricity demand through conservation by 2020.

The company says significant improvements are needed to revamp aging facilities that were built between 1950 and 1980.

In total, about a dozen projects across the province will be given a facelift.

Energy Minister Steve Thomson said the upgrades are necessary to ensure B.C. will have clean and reliable electricity in future generations.

BC Hydro says demand for electricity in the Mount Pleasant/South False Creek is expected to increase by almost 40 per cent over the next 10 years – and as much as 82 per cent over the next 30 years.