FortisBC to move to flat electricity rate by 2023

Utility to gradually reduce and increase necessary rates over next five years

FortisBC will be phasing out its two-tier electricity rate by 2023.

The BC Utilities Commission approved the energy companies request made in December 2017 to return to a single, flat rate on Thursday.

The two-tiered rate, also known as the residential conservation rate, was put in place in 2012 at the direction of the comission in order to encourage energy conservation. Customers pay a higher rate when their use exceeds 1,600 kilowatt hours over a two-month period.

FortisBC vice-president of regulatory affairs Diane Roy said in a news release the utility had applied to reverse the two-tier system after customers voiced concerns over limited conservation options, specifically those who have high energy needs.

The change will end in annual savings for about 30 per cent of customers who have had higher bills under the current system. Meanwhile, customers who saved through energy conservation will see their bill increase.

Over the next five years, FortisBC will gradually reduce rates of its higher energy users, and increase the lower-rate customers, until it reaches a flat rate.

Current rates are 10.11 cents for the first 800 kilowatt hours, and 15.61 cents for additional use. If a flat rate were to be implemented today, all residential customers would be charged 11.749 cents per kilowatt-hour, and a basic customer charge of $18.70 per month.

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