The B.C. NDP government is delivering on its election campaign promise to freeze B.C. Hydro rates.
There was a three per cent hike scheduled for next year. B.C. Hydro had applied to the province’s utilities commission in 2016 to increase rates by three per cent annually over three years, but Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall said the Crown corporation is pulling back the request.
Hydro rates in the province have gone up by more than 24 per cent in the last four years and by more than 70 per cent since 2001.
“After years of escalating electricity costs, British Columbians deserve a break on their bills,” Mungall said. “From the moment we took office, we’ve taken action to make life more affordable. As part of that, we’re going to make sure that BC Hydro is working for the benefit of all British Columbians and that its rates reflect that commitment.”
The government said the rate freeze will allow time for a comprehensive review of B.C. Hydro. The review will identify changes and cost savings. Details of the review are expected to be developed after the provincial government makes a final decision on the $8.3 billion Site C hydroelectric dam project.
After the review of B.C. Hydro is complete, any cost and revenue adjustments that are identified will be reflected in the rates starting in April 2019.
The hydro rate freeze follows the government’s commitment to phase out the provincial sales tax on electricity. The commitment was included in the September budget update.