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

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Remembering legendary ski builder Fred Bosinger

On Dec. 12 Western Canada lost a man who made a mark in its skiing community.

UPDATED: Body found in burnt-out car

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read