Electric rates set to change as of January 1, 2024 — FortisBC
As of January 1, 2024, FortisBC Inc. (FortisBC) said in a media release Thursday that electricity customers will see a 6.74 per cent general rate increase as approved by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).
For a residential customer with an average use of approximately 1,100 kilowatt hours per month of electricity, this equates to about $11.26 more per month. Changes to individual bills will vary based on use.
A significant driver for the rate change is the increased cost of purchasing electricity. FortisBC purchases a portion of its growing requirements from the regional wholesale market.
The cost of electricity has risen in recent years with the phasing out of coal plants, lower hydroelectricity generation and greater than anticipated demand for electricity with population growth in the region and increasing electrification of parts of the economy. This includes, for example, greater reliance on electric vehicles.
“As we continue to transition to a cleaner energy future, FortisBC is also mindful of ensuring the continued reliability and resiliency of B.C.’s energy systems,” said Joe Mazza, vice president, energy supply and resource development, FortisBC.
“This adjustment in electric rates will help ensure FortisBC can purchase sufficient electricity to meet our customers’ growing needs as well as make investments in maintenance and upgrades for its continued safe and reliable delivery to homes and businesses.”
FortisBC’s power supply comes from its four hydroelectricity facilities, long-term contracts with BC Hydro and other producers as well as the wholesale market.
It continually monitors where it sources its power from at a given time based on price and what’s needed to meet customers’ needs. It also sells power back to the market.
While these tactics allow FortisBC some flexibility to offset rising costs, it still expects electricity prices to rise by more than six per cent next year.
FortisBC is also experiencing growing demand for electricity, particularly in Kelowna, Canada’s fastest growing community. It’s continuing to invest in the necessary system upgrades to meet this demand, such as the $23 million expansion to its Kelowna FA Lee Terminal Substation in 2023.
The project helps ensure reliable service and has already proved essential to maintaining service to customers when the region hits peak demand, the highest amount of energy customers use at a given time.
As a regulated utility, FortisBC applies to the BCUC each year to set electricity rates for the following year. This annual review and approval process ensures electricity rates reflect the cost of providing safe, reliable service, from generating and purchasing the power through to maintaining and improving the electricity grid that delivers energy to homes and businesses.
“We understand that energy costs are an important consideration in household budgets and rising costs may be a concern for some customers. We encourage any customer who has questions about their bill to reach out. Our customer service team can provide information about energy conservation tips, answer billing inquiries and offer solutions that fit your personal needs,” added Mazza.
For more information about rates and to find ways to help lower your bill, visit fortisbc.com/electricityrates.