Effective April 1, BC Hydro is increasing its rates by nine per cent. No joke. And next year’s April Fools day will see another six per cent rate increase. Number-crunching analysts assume that the impact on a regular residential customer will be a rate increase of about $8 a month. Doing the math, that assumes an average monthly hydro bill is typically about $88.88.
As a provincial Crown corporation, BC Hydro reports to the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and is regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). According to its website, BCHydro, its mandate is “to generate, purchase, distribute and sell electricity.”
Up until its BC Hydro Service Plan 2010/11-2012/13, its purpose was to provide “reliable Power, at Low Cost, for Generations.” This purposed, stated the plan, was to provide the context for all of their business decisions.
In the following year’s Service Plan (2012/13-2013/14), the phrase “low cost” appears only in reference to strategies to maintain competitive rates. The two most recent Service Plans (2012/13–2014/15 and 2013/14–2015/16) make no mention of “low cost” at all.
The “low cost” purpose has disappeared from the BC Hydro’s Service Plan.
Next year, rates will increase six per cent; in 2016 there will be a four per cent increase; 2017 will see a 3.5 per cent hike; and, 2018 will add on another 3 per cent. In total, the next five years will see a rate increase of 28 per cent.