In a media release Thursday, FortisBC said the company has received interim approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for its interim 2021 electricity rates.
The interim approval will result in a 4.36 per cent general rate increase for its customers, effective January 1, 2021.
FortisBC said a residential customer with average use of approximately 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year of electricity would see their monthly bills increase by about $7.30 per month.
“We strive to operate efficiently and keep rates at the lowest possible cost,” said Diane Roy, vice president, regulatory affairs, FortisBC.
“However, increases are sometimes needed so FortisBC can make necessary system improvements and long-term investments that ensure our customers will always have the power they need, when they need it.”
As a regulated, privately owned utility, FortisBC said the company must ensure its electric rates reflect the actual cost of providing the safe, reliable service its customers depend on, from generating and purchasing the power through to maintaining and improving the electricity grid that delivers energy to homes and businesses.
Each year, FortisBC must detail those requirements in an application that goes to the BCUC for a comprehensive review and approval process.
These new rates reflect what FortisBC must charge to execute on its plans for 2021 and maintain the system effectively for its customers.
The company plans to spend approximately $72 million in electric infrastructure improvements in the coming year.
This includes the yearly investments the company makes to sustain its pole structures, power lines and equipment as well as work on multi-year upgrade projects.
Right now, FortisBC is continuing to make major upgrades to two hydroelectric facilities and plans to upgrade three of its substations and associated transmission lines in 2021.
These investments will help ensure the continued reliability of the system and meet the increasing longer-term energy needs of FortisBC customers.
FortisBC said these rates are approved on an interim, refundable basis. A final decision on permanent rates is expected in early 2021.
FortisBC said the company is sensitive to the rise of energy costs and continues to help customers manage their energy use through its many energy conservation and rebate programs, including programs for customers on limited incomes. It is also on track to phase out two-tiered residential rates by 2023.
For more information about current rates, and how rates are set, visit fortisbc.com/electricrates.