FortisBC electric rates will be changing on July 1 as part of a five-year process to gradually phase-in a single flat rate for residential customers and make other changes related to how rates are structured. Earlier this year, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) approved these changes as part of FortisBC’s rate design application.
“As we went through the rate design process, we facilitated an open dialogue with our customers to gain insight as to what their needs were in relation to how our rates are structured,” said Diane Roy, vice president, regulatory affairs, FortisBC. “This first phase towards a single residential rate is based on that input.”
For residential customers, the phase-in period will include gradually reducing the higher tier rate and increasing the lower tier rate until a single, flat rate is established by 2023. During this first implementation phase, the higher tier will decrease from 15.617 to 14.915 cents per kilowatt-hour and the lower tier will increase from 10.117 to 10.394 cents per kilowatt-hour. The customer charge will be changing from $16.04 to $16.58 per month. Changes to individual bills will vary based on use.
Commercial customers will also see changes as FortisBC received approval to phase-out the declining block commercial rate and establish a single rate by 2021. For these customers, this will reduce both the higher and lower tiered energy charges, while also reducing the difference between the two rates. The demand charges and customer charges will also change. The first phase of these changes will also begin on July 1, 2019.
These changes are revenue neutral for FortisBC. Periodically, utilities like FortisBC complete a comprehensive rate design process to review how rates are structured to make sure costs are allocated fairly across rate classes. The July 1 rate changes will put in place the new rate structures that were approvedas part of that review. That means that while individual components of rates are changing, the overall revenue FortisBC collects from customers remains the same.
FortisBC encourages customers to review their annual electricity use to determine what these changes will mean for them, and has created an online calculator to help. Residential customers can find out more and estimate how the July 1 rate change will affect their annual electricity costs by visiting fortisbc.com/flatrate.
For customers interested in lowering their bills, FortisBC offers programs as well as resources to help reduce energy use in the home. Customers can also contact FortisBC if they have any questions about these changes by calling 1-866-436-7847. For more information about how rates are set and current rates, visit fortisbc.com/electricrates.