BC Hydro crew at work: the recent cold spell has included wind and ice-related power outages around the province.

BC Hydro offers new winter payment plan

Record high demand during cold snap and the latest increase in rates have pushed up power bills around B.C.

Cold weather has pushed electricity consumption to near-record levels, prompting BC Hydro to offer customers a new payment option to spread the cost over six months.

The winter payment plan averages BC Hydro bills for residential customers from Dec. 1 to March 31. It’s offered to customers who are not on the utility’s existing equal payment plan, which averages bills for the entire year.

Customers can participate in the winter payment plan by calling 1-800-BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376).

Unusually cold weather in southern B.C. pushed power consumption to a record on Jan. 3, when demand peaked between 5 and 6 p.m. at 10,126 megawatts. That breaks a record set on Nov. 29, 2006, and for Metro Vancouver it is the longest spell of sub-zero weather in about 30 years.

Power bills are pushed up more by the latest BC Hydro rate increase, a four per cent hike that took effect last summer. The B.C. government-mandated rate plan calls for further increases of 3.5 per cent and three per cent in the next two years, after which authority over rates is to be returned to the B.C. Utilities Commission.

NDP energy critic Adrian Dix said the string of rate increases that began in 2013 is one reason why BC Hydro lowered its demand forecast last year. A series of politically driven rate increases totalling 28 per cent has placed an extra hardship on people with the onset of cold weather, he said.

“Any chance you give people to deal with massive rate increases in a cold winter is good,” Dix said. “I have no issue with them doing that. But let’s be clear, it’s a massive rate increase over the last number of years.”

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

BC Budget’s Top 10 promises the North Coast will care about

BC Ferry fare reductions, Indigenous language investments, rent support for seniors

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Via Rail’s unofficial travelling art program

Jasper-Prince Rupert train has a car dedicated to art offered by the one-of-a-kind Bruce Brown

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read