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FortisBC receives interim go-ahead for 3.98% power rate increase

The BC Utilities Commission has given FortisBC the go ahead to increase its rates by 3.98 per cent effective Jan. 1.

The company says for the average residential electric customer using about 1,100 kilowatt hours of electricity per month, it works out to about $7.62 more per month.

“With a growing market demand for power, we are forecasting an increased cost to purchase power in the upcoming year to serve our growing customer demand,” FortisBC vice-president Joe Mazza said in a news release.

“We are also continuing to invest in our system to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of energy to our customers and to meet their growing demand.

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“We’re very conscious that any rate increase can be a concern for our customers and we’ve been able to find savings in our operations to offset some of this cost and lower the increase that would have otherwise been needed for 2023.”

FortisBC applies to the utilities commission each year to set its rates for the following year, although the commission does not always grant the company the increase it seeks. Rates are approved on an interim basis. A final decision will be made later in 2023. If the commission only grants a lesser increase, customers will see a refund.

This year rates went up 3.47 per cent; in 2021 they went up 4.36 per cent; and in 2020 they went up one per cent.

The company says the new rates reflect the company’s infrastructure maintenance plans for the coming year, including building new substations and power lines in growing areas and replacing old equipment at its dams and transmission facilities.

Next year all residential customers will be billed at a single rate and, for the first time since 2011, customers will see only one line item on their bill. FortisBC has been phasing out different rates for different levels of use, since 2019.

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