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

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Columbia Avenue paving scheduled for weekend

Paving on Castlegar’s main thoroughfare will take place in a few days, weather permitting.

Tour company plans shuttle service to Kelowna for stranded travellers

SMT Kootenay wants to help travellers get in and out of ‘Cancelgar’ in winter months

Castlegar library offering free radon detectors

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and Castlegar has one of the highest levels in B.C.

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Most Read