New block rate billing explained

I am writing to take a moment to explain for your readers how the new block rate will work for FortisBC electricity customers.

I am writing to take a moment to explain for your readers how the new block rate will work for FortisBC electricity customers.

There were a number of inaccuracies published in the January 26 edition of your paper “Great expectations should be a two-way street” regarding our upcoming residential inclining block rate.

Starting July 1, 2012, FortisBC will be moving to a block rate for its residential electricity customers.

This means customers will be charged a rate that is lower than the current flat rate for the first block of electricity they use in a billing period and a higher rate for any electricity used above that amount. FortisBC was directed by the BC Utilities Commission to apply for and implement this type of rate because it is designed to encourage conservation and to incent customers to use less electricity.

This new rate structure will apply only to FortisBC residential electricity customers, and a majority of our customers, about 75 per cent, will actually see a decrease on their bills because of this new rate structure.

It is also important to note that the residential inclining block rate is revenue neutral to FortisBC, meaning FortisBC will collect the same amount of revenue from customers as it did with the current rate structure. Furthermore, FortisBC makes a regulated rate of return on its infrastructure – it does not profit from either incremental natural gas or electricity sales.

FortisBC’s PowerSense program offers rebates and financial incentives to make upgrading to energy saving technologies at home and work more affordable. From rebates for energy efficient lighting to loans and rebates for air source heat pumps, PowerSense offers dozens of programs to help homeowners save energy and money.

Finding the right mix of energy for your household is something that FortisBC encourages. If customers would like to know how the new block rate is going to work for them, I encourage them to call our contact centre at 1-866-436-7847.

Tom Loski

FortisBC vice president,

customer service