In case you missed it, electricity rates just went up

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B.C. Hydro increased its residential electricity rates on April 1, part of a long-term scheme that has rates increasing every year through to at least 2018, and likely beyond.

Rates this year are up 6%.

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The Step 1 rate is now 7.97 cents per kWh, up from 7.52 cents.

The Step 2 rate, which kicks in after you’ve used roughly 1,350 kWh during a two-month billing period, is now 11.95 cents, up from 11.27 cents.

In April 2014, the rates went up 9%.

The blended two-year increase is 15.6%. (B.C. Hydro’s math.)

The increases are part of a 10-year plan that the provincial government and B.C. Hydro rolled out in 2013. B.C. Hydro needs more money to build more electricity generating capacity and to maintain and upgrade its equipment, we’ve been told.

We’ll see more increases in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The specific amounts haven’t been set yet, but that 10-year plan has set maximums.

For 2016 — the increase is capped at 4%

For 2017 — 3.5%

For 2018 — 3%

What happens after that hasn’t been decided yet. But the 10-year plan is predicting more increases in the final five years.

For our household, this year’s 6% increase has translated into this so far:

Daily consumption in April has been around 30 kWh at the Step 2 rate of 11.95 cents, which is $3.59 a day, or $107.70 for the month.

Under the old rate of 11.27 cents, it would been $3.38 a day, or $101.43 for the day.

The difference is $6.27. Not that much, but it adds up, and more increases are coming.

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Our household is in Step 2 territory for April because we use an electrically-powered heat pump to heat our home. That pretty much guarantees that we’ll reach Step 2 during the chillier months.

I wrote earlier about this Step 1, Step 2 thing.

Here is an explanation from B.C. Hydro.

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A provincial government explanation of the 10-year plan for B.C. Hydro. It’s a PDF issued in 2013.

A government news release about the 10-year plan.

You can track your electrical usage by setting up an online account at byhydro.com. You'll need information from a recent bill to do this.

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My previous posts are here.

 

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