FortisBC rate hike plugs in New Year’s Day

Company has interim approval for 3.3 per cent increase.

New year’s cheer will probably be followed by a new year jeer when FortisBC electrical customers start paying a 3.3 per cent rate increase effective the first day of 2014.

“We filed an application for the 3.3 per cent increase with the BC Utilities Commission in July,” confirmed Neal Pobran, FortisBC corporate communications manager. “And we did get interim approval for that rate increase.”

Pobran said the interim approval allows for the rate increase effective Jan. 1, however the rates setting procedure is ongoing and could be subject to change based on that regulatory process.

“If the rate changes, customers’ bills will be adjusted accordingly,” he added.

The FortisBC rate increase confirmation comes on the heels of BC Hydro’s announcement this week when Energy Minister Bill Bennett laid out that company’s 10-year plan that includes a 15 per cent rate hike in the next two years, and then 10.5 per cent three years after that.

Although those rate hikes appear to be monumental, FortisBC customers are currently paying more for electricity and will continue to pay more, said Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs.

Bogs is chair of a mayoral committee that addressed Les MacLaren (Assistant Deputy for the Ministry of Energy) with a report from the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society (LCCDTS) which illuminated the fact that FortisBC residential consumer rates are, on average, 20 per cent higher than its counterpart, BC Hydro.

The energy report was commissioned earlier this year by the Energy and Sustainability Committee of the LCCDTS to review and compare the rate disparities.

“Our objective is to find out what can be done to ensure that our rates are closer to BC Hydro,” said the mayor.

“Even with Hydro’s increases we will still be paying more,” he explained. “Because we are already paying up to 25 per cent higher and will see more rate increases over the next five years,” said Bogs.

“The committee is hoping to meet before Christmas for intelligent conversation and to see what we can do about this from a political perspective.”

Every year FortisBC has a rates setting process with the BC Utilities Commission that is open to anyone who wishes to attend or take part in at BCUC.com, said Pobran.

“The big difference is that we have different customer classes,” Pobran told the Trail Times. “So residential is 20 per cent higher but our commercial customers are a little bit lower so there is that to consider right now.”

Another rate hike burns Warfield Mayor Bert Crockett for a few reasons.

Crockett is a member of the group of mayors who met with MacLaren in August.

“The whole deal is that Fortis is getting a higher bottom line under the guise of energy conservation,” he said. “Charging more may have the customer thinking twice about how much energy is being used,” Crockett explained. “But at the end of the day the incline rate is wrong especially for people who have no choice but electrical heat, which Fortis has already made a whole pile of money on,” he continued. “To me that is just not right. They should just charge so much per kilowatt hour and then I will make my own adjustments on how much I heat my house. It’s really not their concern how I use my energy so long as I pay my bill.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

Interior Health says Salmo’s COVID-19 cases have been contained. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Interior Health: Salmo’s COVID-19 cases are contained

Every person who tested positive has recovered

Vases of red roses will be placed in remembrance at several locations in Trail on Monday. Photo: Jamie Street
Trail bridge goes red on Sunday to honour national remembrance

Every night in Canada over 3,400 women and their children are in shelters trying to escape violence

Masks are mandatory indoors in all B.C. businesses. Photo: Black Press file
Think about the common good: wear a mask

Opinion by Trail Times columnist Louise McEwan

The Village of Salmo has told Cody Puckett and Ashley Nelson that clearing land at this property doesn’t constitute building a property according to a bylaw. Photo: Submitted
Work in progress? Salmo family, village at odds over property construction

Cody Puckett says he’s being evicted from his own land, which the village disputes

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

Most Read