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Hydro rates increase by three per cent

Last Updated Apr 2, 2018 at 6:57 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Hydro rates are increasing by three per cent

The Hydro rate increase comes after the BC NDP's proposed freeze was rejected by the BC Utilities Commission

The BCUC said there was insufficient regulatory justification to approve the provincial government's freeze

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Gas prices are not the only thing going up today.

Hydro rates are also increasing three per cent after the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) rejected the government’s proposal to freeze them.

The planned freeze had been announced last year, as part of the BC NDP’s commitment to phase out the provincial sales tax on electricity back in September’s budget.

“Following the 50 per cent reduction that started on Jan. 1, 2018, government will completely eliminate the PST on non-residential electricity on Apr. 1, 2019. Residential use of electricity is already PST-exempt. Eliminating the PST on electricity will translate into savings of more than $150 million annually for BC businesses,” BC’s Energy Minister, Michelle Mungall, said last November.

“After years of escalating electricity costs, British Columbians deserve a break on their bills,” Mungall she added. “From the moment we took office, we’ve taken action to make life more affordable.”

The BCUC said it couldn’t justify the NDP’s plan. “BC Hydro’s Amended Application is not approved and rates are set at the amount requested in the original application,” the Commission’s decision reads. “The Panel finds that there is insufficient regulatory justification to approve the zero per cent rate increase in the Amended Application.”

Mungall expressed her disappointment with the BCUC’s decision last month. “We completely understand the affordability crisis so many families face, and will be taking action quickly to address the need to reduce electricity costs for those who need it most,” she said. “Government will work with BC Hydro and customer groups on a lifeline rate program. The program could mean that people who have demonstrated need would have access to a lower rate for their electricity.”

Your home’s hydro bill is already PST-exempt.

Earlier this year, BC Hydro also announced enhanced measures to help customers manage higher winter bills after the region dealt with frigid temperatures. The province also announced grants for certain customers who were unable to pay their bills.