Utilities commission approves replacement of baseline rates for medium, and large business customers
BC Hydro receives approval to move to flat rates for businesses.
The BC Hydro electricity rates for Large General Service (LGS) customers and Medium General Service (MGS) are changing. Starting on April 1, 2017, LGS and MGS customers will all be charged under simpler, flat rates.
The change is based on extensive customer and stakeholder feedback. As most customers found the current baseline rates too complex and did not achieve energy conservation as expected, we proposed simpler, flat rates as part of our 2015 Rate Design Application. And the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) approved our proposal on January 20, 2017.
Under the new rates, there’s no tiered pricing for energy and demand charges, and baselines aren’t required. You’ll pay the same price for all your energy used (measured in kWh) and the same price for all of your demand (measured in kW).
The new rate will make it easier to plan and budget electricity costs, energy efficiency or expansion projects.
As a result of the change to simpler flat rates, the online Baseline and Forecaster tools are no longer required to estimate electricity costs and will be removed from MyHydro.
Flat rate remains for Small General Service customers
The flat rate for Small General Service customers remains as it is, with a slight one-time change in the basic charge. The SGS basic charge increases slightly to better reflect our fixed costs of services for things such as metering and billing. However, to offset this increase, there will be a corresponding decrease to the Energy Charge for your electricity use.
‘Conservation rate’ more effective for residential customers
The two-tier “conservation rate” remains in effect for residential customers, where the rate has proved effective in promoting conservation. The BCUC agreed with BC Hydro’s proposal to maintain the two-tiered rate for residential customers because customers seem to understand it, pay attention to their BC Hydro bills and take steps to lower their electricity use.
“In our view the evidence presented clearly suggests that the [two-tiered residential rate] approach is well known and is working reasonably well, as the majority of customers are aware of it and report that it creates an incentive to conserve energy,” wrote the BCUC in its ruling.