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

Annual Roubaix races through Pitt Meadows

Maggie Coles-Lyster tops women’s category

Maple Ridge actress in Sealed for Freshness

Marla Todd plays the role of Bonnie in the comedy set in 1968

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows funding for school upgrades

Money to come from annual facilities grant from Ministry of Education

Maple Ridge council proceeds with riverfront subdivision

Third reading for 26 homes, most in Alouette flood plain.

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Two units damaged in Abbotsford apartment fire

Quick action from fire rescue service halted blaze from spreading beyond two damaged units

5 to start your day

Many in hospital after Aldergrove deck collapse, video showing pig abuse allegedly at Abbotsford farm and more

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Allegedly intoxicated man arrested after 3 paramedics attacked at Kamloops hospital

Paramedics had transported the man to Royal Inlands Hospital for medical treatment

Canadian privacy watchdogs find major shortcomings in Facebook probe

The probe followed reports that Facebook had let an outside organization use an app to access users’ personal info

Busy day for passengers on BC Ferries

First two sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay full Thursday morning

B.C., Ottawa talk 50/50 split on abandoned bus-route service

B.C. has paid $2 million on a bus service for the northern part of the province

Most Read