Residential rate design
The way our customers use electricity is changing, and it's time to review how your electricity rates are determined.
We want to make sure that you're charged for the electricity you use in a way that:
- Keeps your electricity costs affordable.
- Reflects the changing environmental and technological landscape.
- Is fair to you and all customers.
Phase 1: What we heard from you
Through Phase 1 (April to June 2021) of our engagement process, we asked about how you use electricity and what’s important to you when it comes to the cost of electricity. We heard from more than 25,000 British Columbians through online surveys, virtual workshops, a telephone town hall, and smaller sessions with Indigenous Nations and key stakeholder groups.
Your input told us your two key priorities when it comes to future rate options are:
- Ensuring your electricity bill remains affordable and low.
- Continuing to have reliable access to electricity.
Phase 2: Thanks for your input on new rate options
Through Phase 2 of our engagement process (October to November 2021) we shared more details on the specific rate options we’re considering, including new optional time-of-use rates. These included:
Standard rate structure options
Maintain the current stepped rate structure and continue to charge a lower rate (~9 cents perr kilowatt hour (kWh)) for electricity up to a certain threshold (Step 1) in each billing period, and a higher rate (~14 cents per kWh) for all electricity use beyond that threshold (Step 2).
We’d also maintain the current basic charge of around $6.30 per month that partially covers a variety of fixed customer-related costs.
Implementing a flat rate structure would mean removing the current stepped rate so you'd be charged the same rate per kilowatt hour for the electricity you use, no matter how much.
This rate would be in the middle between the current Step 1 and Step 2 rates, which could mean higher bill amounts for those who typically stay within the current Step 1 threshold, and lower bill amounts for those who often go into Step 2.
The basic charge amount would remain the same as it is today at around $6.30 per month.
New optional rates
This would be an optional rate structure that you could sign up for instead of being charged under the standard residential rate structure. The rate includes different electricity price periods during the day to help promote the efficient use of electricity. For example, you’d be charged a lower rate for electricity used at times when electricity demand in the province is low, like overnight, and a higher rate when electricity demand is high, like in the early evening hours.
You could save money under this rate if you can shift the use of high energy consuming appliances, like an electric clothes dryer or electric vehicle charger, to a lower priced period.
The pricing structure could look like this:
- Daytime rate (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.): 11.5 cents per kWh
- Evening rate (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.): 26 cents per kWh
- Late evening rate (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.): 11.5 cents per kWh
- Overnight rate (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.): 5 cents per kWh
If you have an EV, you could sign up for this separately metered rate. This would include a lower rate for charging your EV at home between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and a higher rate for charging between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.
The pricing structure could look like this:
- Daytime charging rate (7 a.m. to 11 p.m.): 14 cents per kWh
- Overnight charging rate (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.): 5 cents per kWh
If you plan to install a Level 2 charger, a certified electrical contractor can advise you whether a service upgrade is needed to meet the charger’s greater demand for electricity. In addition to the cost for the charger, your existing electrical service equipment may need to be upgraded at a cost of $2,000 - $3,000 or more, depending on your existing service configuration. We’re exploring other lower cost technologies to measure the electricity used by an EV charger that could also work with this rate.
Next steps and application to the BCUC
We’re now carefully considering the input you provided throughout our engagement process as we put together our application to the BCUC that we plan to submit in spring 2022.
The BCUC will then review the application and determine next steps. Any changes to your residential electricity rates are subject to BCUC approval.
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.