Beginning of April brings another increase to BC Hydro rates

Apr 3 2018, 6:22 am

Although the provincial government said last year that it would be freezing BC Hydro rates for one year, it was announced last month that those same rates would instead be increased by 3%.

And on Sunday, April 1, that rate increase officially came into effect.

The BC Utilities commission had requested a one-year-rate freeze, but that was turned down and a 3% increase proposed by the previous BC Liberals government when they were still in power has been approved.

The rate freeze was meant to give the government time to undertake a comprehensive review of BC Hydro.

Back in March, BC’s Minister of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall said she was “disappointed the BCUC turned down BC Hydro’s request for a one-year rate freeze, and instead, approved the previous government’s rate increase.”

In light of the decision, the province said it plans to work with BC Hydro and customer groups on a lifeline rate program.

“The program could mean that people who have demonstrated need would have access to a lower rate for their electricity,” Mungall explained.

In addition, starting this May, “residential customers who find themselves in an emergency – such as loss of employment, unanticipated medical expenses or pending eviction for example – will be eligible for a grant toward their outstanding BC Hydro bill.”

This grant is up to $600 and “does not need to be repaid.”

Despite the 3% increase decision, Mungall said the government still plans to “undertake a comprehensive review of BC Hydro to make it work for people.”

BC Hydro wasn’t the only rate increase on Sunday, however.

Other tax increase that were implemented included an increase to the carbon tax, higher taxes on cigarettes, and a tax increase on liquor sales.

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