BC Hydro announced Friday that they have filed an interim one-year rate application with the BC Utilities Commission requesting a 4% rate increase effective April 1.
The company says the rate hike is consistent with the 10-year rates plan announced by the province in 2013 that caps increases at 4%. Rates are set to increase 4% for fiscal 2017, 3.5% for fiscal 2018, and 3% for fiscal 2019.
BC Hydro says they anticipate an increase in electricity demand in the province – in fact, they predict growth of 40% over the next two decades. They say recent events in the LNG and mining sectors have lead them to file for the interim rate application.
“We want to ensure the revenue requirement proceedings with the BC Utilities Commission are conducted on the basis of the best information possible and we will be taking the time to update the Load-Resource Balance to consider how recent economic events impact our forecasts,” says Jessica McDonald, President and CEO of BC Hydro in a statement. “We are on-track to deliver the 10-Year Plan which provides certainty for British Columbians and ensures rates remain as low as possible while BC Hydro invests in the electricity system.”
BC Hydro claims most customers will be paying $4 more per month in electricity costs. They say their rates are the third lowest in North America for residential customers.
In order to accommodate costs, BC Hydro eliminated 800 employees from 2012 to 2014 and another 340 in 2015 and 2016. The company says they have identified nearly $29 million in cost saving measures for fiscal 2017, including reductions in consultants and sponsorships.
Additionally, BC Hydro plans to invest $7.6 billion into capital projects over the next three years to replace aging facilities.