Residential rate design
The way our customers use electricity is changing, and we're exploring new rate options to support that.
For example, if you've switched to clean electricity by getting an electric vehicle (EV), we're looking at rates that will give you more choices and opportunities to save when you plug it in at home.
We want to continue to keep your electricity costs affordable while also giving you more options for how you’re charged for the electricity you use and ensure fairness for all customers.
Learn more about why we're looking at new residential rate options.
Key insights from our engagement with you
In December 2020, we began engaging with you on how you use electricity and what's important when it comes to the cost of electricity. We also shared some of the rate options we're considering, including new optional time-of-use rates.
We heard from more than 35,000 British Columbians through online surveys, virtual workshops, a telephone town hall, and smaller sessions with Indigenous Nations and key stakeholder groups.
Your input gave us insights into your priorities when it comes to future rate options. Our rate options should:
- Give customers a choice to pick a rate that best meets their needs and lifestyle.
- Incentivize the use of clean electricity rather than fossil fuels.
- Encourage customers to shift some electricity use to overnight to make better use of existing electrical infrastructure.
Where we're at now
We've been exploring optional rates based on the feedback we heard in our province-wide engagement. This includes looking at rate options to help support the adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps, while still being in the best interest of all customers.
One of the new rates we're considering is an optional time-use-rate for residential customers. We’re now in the process of engaging with stakeholders and a select group of residential customers to gather feedback on this proposed rate.
The proposed time-of-use rate concept
The optional time-of-use rate we've proposed gives you a credit of a certain amount per kWh for electricity used overnight (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) and charges an additional amount per kilowatt hour (kWh) for electricity used during the peak period (4 to 9 p.m.). The optional rate would be layered onto the existing two-tier rate structure.
This proposed rate could help you save on electricity costs if you shift some of your usage to off-peak periods. It's particularly beneficial to those who charge an EV at home and can charge overnight. You could also save money by shifting other household usage outside of the peak period, such as laundry and dishwashing.
Next steps and application to the BCUC
We plan to submit a rate application to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) in early 2023.
The BCUC will then review the application and determine next steps. Any changes to your residential electricity rates are subject to BCUC approval.
Learn more about what we must consider when evaluating your rates.
We introduced the Residential Conservation Rate in 2008 to encourage our customers to conserve electricity, but a lot has changed since then. For example, more of us are:
- Using smart technologies in our homes.
- Making energy-conscious decisions to reduce our costs, support energy conservation, and address climate change.
- Buying and charging electric vehicles at home.
- Switching to clean electricity from fossil fuels to reduce our carbon footprint.
The approach we've been using may not work best for these new technologies and behaviours. That's why we're exploring new approaches, while also ensuring fairness for all customers.