BC Hydro Rates to Increase 40%
Homeowners of older North Shore houses may want to consider some efficiency upgrades, and with a recent announcement from BC Hydro, they may want to make such improvements sooner rather than later. Environmental benefits aside, reducing your hydro bill by implementing some cost-effective changes has large long-term financial benefits.
Despite a statement by Energy Minister Bill Bennett that residents of British Columbia will still enjoy some of the best rates on the continent, the increases to energy bills in the years to come may surprise a few unsuspecting North Vancouver homeowners. BC Hydro is set to increase rates by 40% over the next 10 years, and the first increase will come as soon as April of next year with a 9% rate increase. In 2015, there will be an additional increase of 6%, reaching a total of 25.5% added to Hydro bills within 5 years.
So, with an average increase of 4% per year over the next decade, the increases are not going to break the Bank for any North Vancouver properties. In fact, Bennett estimates that the average homeowner will experience an $8 increase on their monthly bill. However, this price hike does further increase the appeal of implementing energy-saving features to the home.
When compared to other cities in North America, residents in Greater Vancouver are in a rather fortunate situation. Residents in Calgary and Halifax pay almost double that of their Vancouver counterparts and in San Francisco nearly three times more.
However, it is important to remember that although we enjoy low rates in proportion to the rest of North America, and that a large amount of our energy comes from the relatively clean power produced by hydroelectric dams, that BC is still a net-importer of electricity and depends on Coal energy from the United States to supplement peak times.
Furthermore, it’s important to know that British Columbia contains some of the best conditions for wind power on the planet. There are wind farms operating in BC, located in the North of the province, however the potential that exists within the province remains severely underused.
BC Hydro has the final say when it comes to new power projects in the province. If you want to sell power to British Columbians, you have to do so through BC Hydro, and if you want to sell power to the United States, you have to use the existing infrastructure owned by BC Hydro. So, despite having numerous companies in the province with proposals for wind power farms, BC Hydro continues to favor hydroelectric projects, which when compared to alternatives is not a very environmentally-friendly option, due in large part to the immense amount of methane released during the flooding process.
In conclusion, if BC Hydro truly had our best interest at heart, and was interested in keeping electrical rates as low as possible, with the opportunity to make our province a net-exporter of power, they would further investigate the potential of wind as well as other alternatives such as run-of-river. Owners of North Vancouver Real Estate would benefit from lower rates, and all residents of British Columbia would benefit from additional sources of income to the province.