Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hydro rates on their way upwards in British Columbia

It will be a particularly memorable April Fools Day in 2014 for British Columbians as that day will signify the start of a string of Hydro rate increases over the next five years.

The first two increases will take a bite out your household budget with  a 9 per cent increase set for 2014, followed by 6 per cent increase planned for 2015.

After that, rates will be capped at 4 per cent, 3.5 percent and three per cent through to 2018.

Following 2018, the BCUC will set the rates which are anticipated to be in the 2.5 to 2.6 per cent range.

The announcement of the upcoming increase in the cost of hydro service in the province was made on Tuesday. Outlined as part of a ten year plan of investment into the provincial hydro service.

And while residential and commercial rate payers will have to dig a little deeper, so to will institutional users such as schools and hospitals. Those are two groups which, already stretched by budget constraints, will have no choice but to find a way to pass that new cost onto tax payers, or make cuts to services.

Two options that may not find much favour with British Columbians.

In addition to the rate increases, BC Hydro also announced that there would be staff reductions made to the hydro company.

The main thrust of the need for higher rates according to BC Hydro is the need for increased capital spending, as Hydro develops such resources as the Northwest Transmission Line and increases the life cycle of dams and other hydro infrastructure across the province.

BC Hydro broke down the talking points with a number of different reviews:

BC Hydro Rates Backgrounder 
BC Hydro Capital Plan Backgrounder
BC Hydro Integrated Resource plan
Taking Pressure off Rates Backgrounder
Industrial Electricity Policy Review Report

Some critics of Hydro policy, such as the Canadian Office an Professional Employees Union have suggested that  there may be even greater rate increases to come over the next decade.

Particularly as BC Hydro addresses accounting and cost issues as well as major projects such as the Site C dam.

Some background on the announcement of Tuesday can be found below.

Vancouver Province-- BC Hydro rates to jump 25.5 per cent over next 5 years
Vancouver Sun-- BC Hydro rates head skyward as province unveils 10 year plan
Vancouver Sun-- Bennett's Hydro plan includes cost of Liberal mismanagement
Victoria Times Colonist-- B.C. Hydro rates to increase 28 per cent over five years, up $00 annually on average bill
Globe and Mail-- BC Hydro rates to leap as debt problems persist
CTV BC-- BC Hydro rates to jump 25.5 percent over 5 years
Global BC-- B. C. Government to raise hydro rates 25.5 % over five years
CBC-- BC Hydro rates to increase 28 per cent over 5 years

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