Residential E-Plus update

On January 20, 2017 the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) issued an order to phase out the Residential E-Plus rate over five years. In response to a request from a number of E-Plus customers, the BCUC reconsidered the decision and announced on December 19, 2017 [PDF, 622 KB] that the phase out will occur gradually over a ten year period to allow customers enough time to adjust to the changes.

Average Residential E-Plus customers will see an overall bill increase of two to three percent each year staring on April 1, 2018. This is in addition to any general rate increases that are in effect over the next ten years.

On April 1, 2028, customers on the Residential E-Plus rate will be transitioned to a standard residential rate. We'll notify Residential E-Plus customers closer to that date with more details on the rate transition.

During this time, Residential E-Plus customers are no longer required to maintain a permanent back-up heating system, are able to replace existing space and water heating equipment, and their E-Plus service won't be interrupted. The E-Plus rate is still only available for space and hot water heating, new load can't be added to the service and accounts can't be transferred.

We offer rebates and tips to help customers improve their home's energy efficiency and save on electricity bills. Customers on the Residential E-Plus rate are encouraged to consider these to better manage their household electricity costs. Learn more.

Commercial E-Plus rate customers

The January 20, 2017 decision only applies to the Residential E-Plus rate. The General Service E-Plus rate (rate schedules 1205, 1206 and 1207) will be addressed separately. We will contact customers on these rates if we consider proposing any changes to their E-Plus service.

Background

Customers on the Residential E-Plus rate (Rate Schedule 1105) have been paying a discounted rate for separately metered electric heating on the condition that the E-Plus service could be interrupted when we don't have sufficient surplus energy that can be economically provided from other sources. E-Plus customers were also required to maintain a permanent back-up heating system.

Since the rate was introduced in 1987, E-Plus service has never been interrupted. The rate was closed to new customers in 1990, and as of April 1, 2008 it's only available in premises where there has not been a change of customer.

The Residential E-Plus rate was reviewed as part of BC Hydro's 2015 Rate Design Application. Over a period of 18 months, we considered feedback from residential E-Plus customers, the E-Plus Homeowners Group and interveners who represented other customers. We proposed to maintain the Residential E-Plus rate with a change to the Special Conditions to make it practical for us to interrupt electricity service, as was the rate's initial intent.

After an extensive review process, the BCUC rejected our proposal and determined the benefits of maintaining a discounted rate for Residential E-Plus customers could no longer be justified and issued an order to phase it out over five years as part of its Decision on our 2015 Rate Design Application [PDF, 1.8 MB].

As part of a subsequent regulatory filing by the E-Plus Homeowners Group, the BCUC reconsidered how the phase out would be implemented. The BCUC determined the phase out period will occur over a ten year period starting on April 1, 2018 to allow customers enough time to adjust to the changes. It will remain as a flat rate, with the Residential E-Plus rate discount gradually reduced to zero over the ten year period.

On April 1, 2028, customers on the Residential E-Plus rate will be transitioned to a standard residential rate.