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Lower hydro bills in B.C. possible by next year

Last Updated Aug 24, 2019 at 6:54 pm PDT

Summary

The request went out Thursday to lower rates by 1 per cent next year

Power bills went up this past April, and earlier this year, it was announced we could expect to see BC Hydro rates rise

A final decision for the hydro rates is expected early next year

VICTORIA  (NEWS 1130) – Paying less for electricity by next spring could happen if the B.C. Utilities Commission approves the latest request from BC Hydro to lower rates.

The power provider says the move is because it has higher than expected income from selling power, spent less buying power, and had lower than expected debt. The request went out Thursday to lower rates by 1 per cent next year.

The reduction, if accepted by the utilities commission, would mean the first drop in hydro prices in decades, according to Energy Minister Michelle Mungall. She points to more cash coming in from Hydro subsidiary Powerex and lower than expected debt financing costs as factors.

“As a result of our comprehensive review of BC hydro we have found savings for British Columbians, and so we want to pass those savings on,” she says. “It’s going to be 55 per cent lower than the original liberal plan, and it’s 23 per cent lower than our original plan following the initial results of our phase one comprehensive review.”

If accepted you’ll get short term relief, but there’s also a request for increases in the range of 3 percent for 2021 and 2023.

In a statement, BC Hydro’s president and chief operating officer Chris O’Riley says the company is committed to keeping rates affordable.

“As a result of our updated financial forecast, we’re in the unique position to apply for a rate decrease for our customers that would start on April 1, 2020, if approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission,” he says.

Power bills went up this past April. Earlier this year, it was announced we could expect to see BC Hydro rates rise eight per cent over five years.

A final decision for the hydro rates is expected early next year.