Dave Cobb is president and CEO of BC Hydro.

Electricity users in for regular rate jolts

Bills projected to rise 10 per cent each year

Expect to see your household’s monthly electricity bill climb $7 in each of the next three years.

BC Hydro is now projecting a series of rate increases that will raise a typical monthly residential bill by $21 – a nearly 30 per cent jump from $71 to $92 – by 2013.

The Crown corporation needs to raise $6 billion to upgrade aging power stations, transmission lines and the Vancouver city centre transmission system.

“To pay for these much-needed projects, we need to increase rates, while still looking at every way to keep them among the lowest in North America,” BC Hydro president and CEO Dave Cobb said in a statement Dec. 2.

The planned hikes mean a typical home will pay about $250 more in 2013 than it did this year.

B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre executive director Jim Quail said the rate increases are likely to continue indefinitely, with electricity bills doubling about every eight years.

“There’s no end in sight,” he said. “A number of their projections are probably optimistic. We think If anything it’s conservative.”

The much higher cost of modern power infrastructure compared to the dams built in the 1960s is the main reason.

But Quail also blames policy decisions like buying higher priced “clean” electricity from run-of-river power plants and the move to install smart meters in every home, which he predicts will be a billion-dollar boondoggle rather than an investment paying off in conservation.

For now, Hydro customers may see some short-term rate relief.

The utility had raised rates 9.3 per cent on an interim basis last April, but regulators at the B.C. Utilities Commission have ruled only a 7.29 per cent increase was justified. Customers should get the difference refunded in early 2011.

Just Posted

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Deer study using collars, cameras under watchful eyes outside of Victoria

Method ‘could revolutionize how we go about doing wildlife studies of this kind,’ says scientist

Victoria parking fees bring in more than $17 million every year

Parking fees make up seven per cent of the city’s annual revenue

CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

Commission voted unanimously after several speakers at meeting

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

New report calls for regulated heroin sales to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

Most Read