BC Hydro hoping to be able to charge customers time of use rates

VANCOUVER - BC Hydro is looking to charge customers less for electricity during off peak hours and more during the busiest times of the day.

The BC Utilities Commission is currently reviewing the application that if approved would see customers receive a credit of 5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity used from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Customers would be charged an additional 5 cents per kWh for electricity used during the on-peak period from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There would be no credit or additional charge will be applied to usage during the off-peak period from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“We know the way our customers are using power is changing and they want more options,” BC Hydro spokesperson Susie Rieder said.

“It is optional and we know it may not work for everyone.”

For example, if a customer has an electric vehicle it will be cheaper to plug the car in after 9 p.m., rather than immediately after returning home from a standard work day.

If approved, the time of use rates would only apply to customers who opt in to the program.

The regulatory review process is expected to take about one year.

Other jurisdictions, including Ontario, currently offer off peak rates. One of the challenges is that consumers change in hopes of altering their behaviour, but in reality, end up paying more.

“The cheapest electrical grid system is one with consistent demand and the issue of course is our consumption is not flat,” energyrates.ca founder Joel MacDonald said.

“There is a 5 cent reduction in off peak times, there is a 5 cent increase in peak times, you would have to switch 50 per cent of your load.”


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