BC Hydro applies for time-of-use rates to support electrification

BC Hydro has officially applied with the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to implement an optional time-of-use electricity plan, which it says will help support electrification in the province.

The Optional Residential Time-of-Use Rate Application was submitted to the BCUC on February 27, with BC Hydro saying the plan will help residential customers “save money on their electricity bills by shifting their electricity use to times when system capacity is more available,” or in other words during the overnight off-peak hours.

The proposed off-peak hours are between 11:00pm and 7:00am, during which time customers who opt in to the program would receive a $0.05 per kilowatt hour (kWh) credit for electricity used.

However, any electricity used during peak hours, which BC Hydro has assigned as between 4:00pm to 9:00pm, will see an additional $0.05 per kWh added to the bill.

These rates would apply seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In its application, which you can read in full below (it’s long at 1,192 pages), BC Hydro says “participating customers with an electric vehicle could save an average of $44 per year and up to $250 per year” by shifting to off-peak hours. Additional savings could be had by running your dishwasher after 11:00pm or doing your laundry at 9:00pm, the time at which regular rates apply.

What this all means is that you would have to use more electricity during off-peak hours than during peak hours, the time when you’re making dinner, running the dishwasher, watching TV, entertaining, doing laundry etc., in order for it to be beneficial.

BC Hydro says based on their analysis this should be achievable because “the average Residential customers’ consumption during the On-Peak period is approximately the same as the Overnight period,” so if you shift some of your usage from peak to off-peak, you should see some savings.

Even though the peak period is 5 hours and the off-peak period is 8 hours, this could be tough to achieve for some considering the rather odd hours BC Hydro chose for each period. Starting the off-peak period at 11:00pm is much later than 7:00pm used in Ontario for their off-peak hours.

Additionally BC Hydro is proposing to implement these periods 7 days a week, which is again different than Ontario which has different hours for weekdays and weekends.

Submit Comments On The Proposal

BC Hydro customers will have to sit down and do some math to decide whether opting in for this TOU program will be beneficial for them, if it is approved. That approval will only come after a public consultation process in which you can submit “letters of comment” to the BCUC. You can do that at this link but it appears this application has not yet been added to the list of proceedings at the time of publication.

You can also register as an interested party to receive updates on the proceeding or register as an intervenor and take part in the process by submitting information requests to BC Hydro.

Will you be signing up for TOU rates with BC Hydro? Let us know in the comments below.

Exhibit-B-1-Optional-Residential-TOU-Rate-Application-20230227

 

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