The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has rejected BC Hydro’s bid to introduce new interim rates at its electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Instead, the BCUC has established a Streamlined Review Process (SRP) aimed at expediting the assessment of BC Hydro’s future applications.
BC Hydro’s application, filed on July 28, 2023, proposed an overhaul of its EV charging rates, including a shift to charger power level intervals, new rates for level 2 charging, and the introduction of idle fees. The BCUC’s rejection cited material differences between the proposed and existing rates as the primary reason for denial.
One of the main points noted in the rejection was BC Hydro’s request for interim energy-based rates. Until recently, billing at EV charging stations in Canada did not factor in energy consumption, and was instead based on the amount of time the EV was plugged in. Measurement Canada’s temporary dispensation program approved earlier this year allows energy-based rates for EV fast charging stations. However, BC Hydro has not yet secured the required permission from Measurement Canada to implement such rates, rendering their proposed interim rates premature, said the BCUC.
Another point of contention arises from BC Hydro’s application ambiguity regarding the handling of the difference between existing and proposed interim rates. The BCUC has recognized that the current interim rates may not cover the full cost of providing EV charging services, hinting at the potential for more substantial rate adjustments in the future.
As a response to these challenges, the BCUC has launched the Streamlined Review Process (SRP) to fast-track the evaluation of BC Hydro’s application. This initiative is also accompanied by a call for public participation, allowing stakeholders and the general public to contribute their insights and perspectives.
To engage with the proceedings, several options are available:
- Subscribe to the Proceeding: Receive email notifications about updates on the proceeding webpage.
- Submit a Letter of Comment: Share views, opinions, and insights about the application directly with the BCUC.
- Request Intervener Status: Interested parties have the opportunity to participate actively in the process, representing various perspectives.
While the outcome of the SRP remains uncertain, this decision could potentially set a precedent for how EV charging services are priced and regulated, not just in British Columbia but across the country.