Predictable rates, vital investments at core of BC Hydro 10-year plan

Graph showing B.C. power usage per year

Province of B.C. has announced a 10-year plan for BC Hydro rates

B.C.’s economy is growing, and the demand for power is growing with it.

That’s the driver behind the new 10-year plan for BC Hydro rates, announced by the provincial government on November 26.

It’s all about continuing to provide an affordable, reliable electricity system for British Columbians, while making the right investments to renew our infrastructure, make upgrades and repairs to meet that growing demand.

Our new infographic outlines the need for investments across B.C. and how we’ll meet demand. Those investments are why you’ll start to see some changes in your BC Hydro rates.

Rate increases will be managed to provide certainty for customers

Key facts about your BC Hydro rates:

  • The new 10-year plan ensures our customers will have predictable rates and reasonable increases. Rates will increase by 9 per cent on April 1, 2014.
  • For the average small commercial customer, bills will go up by about $20 a month after April 1, 2014.
  • For the average residential customer, bills will go up by about $8 a month after April 1, 2014.
  • BC Hydro rates remain among the lowest in North America. Check out this comparison of residential electricity prices across North America.

Taking the pressure off rates

Over the past several months, the provincial government and BC Hydro have worked together to reduce cost pressures to keep rates as low as possible. This effort builds on the 2011 review that identified over $391 million in savings.

New measures in the 10-year plan will reduce dividend payments to the Province, free up additional cash to support investments in infrastructure and continue to find savings wherever possible.

Power Smart programs available to reduce the impacts of a rate increase

BC Hydro will invest $1.6 billion in Power Smart programs over the term of the 10-year plan. Learn more about our Power Smart programs.

Investing in our aging grid will provide reliable, affordable power

Most of British Columbia's electricity system was built between the 1960s and the 1980s. Large parts of the grid are in need of major repairs to ensure that we can keep delivering power safely and reliably to our customers. In addition, many parts of the system can't handle the growing demand for power and need upgrades.

In fact, we need to spend an average of $1.7 billion a year for the next 10 years, on everything from seismic upgrades to increased transmission capacity. For example:

  • We’re upgrading Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse near Mission. Since the 1930s, Ruskin has provided clean and reliable electricity to homes and businesses in the Lower Mainland. After more than 80 years of service, the facility is aging and needs major upgrades to the powerhouse and to its ability to survive a major earthquake.
  • A new transmission line from Merritt to Coquitlam will help meet the growing demand for power in the Lower Mainland. The Lower Mainland is expected to require 20 to 40 per cent more power over the next 20 years, and that means we need to increase transmission capacity in the region.
  • At the aging John Hart Dam, we're replacing the generating station. John Hart Generating Station has been operating since 1947 and is one of the oldest generating facilities in BC Hydro's hydroelectric system and one of the most important assets on Vancouver Island.
  • To support the rapid growth in the south Peace region, we're building a new transmission line. Demand in the south Peace is growing about 10 times faster than the provincial average. The Dawson Creek-Chetwynd Area Transmission Line will double the system capacity.
  • We're investing in our heritage assets to replace aging equipment and maintain reliability. We're replacing turbines from the 1960s at GM Shrum near Hudson's Hope. And adding more capacity at Mica will help power more than 80,000 homes.

Since the 1980s, B.C.'s population has grown by more than a million people, and it's expected to keep growing, by more than a million people in the next 20 years. Add that population growth to new demand from new industries and new technologies, and big investments are needed to support our growing economy.

See more projects underway across B.C. and learn how we're investing in the grid.

Get the full details on the 10-year rates plan.