BC Hydro rates to jump 25.5 per cent

BC Hydro rates are slated to rise 25.5 per cent over the next five years as part of a decade-long plan revealed by the province’s energy minister.

At a news conference in Victoria Tuesday morning, Minister Bill Bennett announced an increase of nine per cent next year, followed by another six per cent hike in 2015. Another 10.5 per cent increase is slated for the three years after that.

Earlier this year, Premier Christy Clark said she would not approve a requested 26 per cent boost in hydro rates.

Bennett said the government’s plan is designed to keep electricity rates as low as possible in British Columbia while balancing the need for BC Hydro to invest in new infrastructure and replacing aging assets.

“It’s still a rate increase,” said Bennett. “The 10-year plan is balanced and it’s responsible and it will keep rates as low as possible. The goal of the 10-year plan is to keep rates predictable.”

Bennett says British Columbians pay the third lowest hydro rates in North America. He insists the first nine per cent rate boost will only cost B.C. customers an additional $8 per month on their hydro bill.

BC Hydro CEO Charles Reid believes that even with the increase people in B.C. are getting a good deal on their rates.

“The average residential user, their cable bills and phone bills are much, much higher than their electricity bills. If you were in Calgary, instead of paying $80 or $90 a month for electricity, you’d be paying $150 a month for electricity.”