Electricity bills for some going up, for others going down

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has approved FortisBC’s request to return to a single, flat rate for its residential electricity customers over a period of five years. The request formed part of FortisBC’s Cost of Service Analysis and Rate Design Application, submitted to the BCUC in December 2017.

“We’re satisfied with this result,” said Diane Roy, vice-president of regulatory affairs, FortisBC. “During the rate design process, we heard from many residential customers with concerns about the two-tiered rate, particularly those with high energy needs and limited conservation options. A gradual return to a flat rate balances the interests of our residential customers.”

The two-tiered rate, also known as the residential conservation rate (RCR), was put in place in 2012 at the direction of the BCUC to encourage energy conservation. Customers pay a higher rate when their use exceeds 1,600 kilowatt hours (kWh) over a two-month period.

Returning to a flat rate provides annual savings for about 30 per cent of customers who had higher bills under the two-tiered system. It could also mean moderate bill increases for lower use customers who saved under the two-tiered system. The phased approach reduces the bill impacts for these customers, which FortisBC forecasts to be less than 3.5 per cent per year. The actual change to individual accounts will vary, depending on use. Returning to a flat rate is revenue-neutral for FortisBC.