Encouraging energy efficiency and renewable energy on Vancouver Island

Hydro’s E-Plus program to stay but cost going up

October 27, 2007

NANAIMO, B.C. BC Hydro’s plan to phase-out the E-Plus electricity rate has been denied by BC Utilities Commission (BCUC), the regulatory agency overseeing BC Hydro, in a ruling made yesterday (Oct 26, 2007).

E-Plus, a special low rate for heating homes, was introduced in the late 1980’s when BC had a surplus of electricity. In return for the low price, BC Hydro had the right to interrupt the power used by the home’s heating system, requiring the customer to use their back-up heat.

BCUC also instructed Hydro to charge the E-Plus users what it actually costs Hydro.

“Prices for those users are likely going to move upward very significantly”, said Ludo Bertsch of Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island, a non-profit energy association. “Depending upon how Hydro calculates it, those rates could suddenly jump by, say, 50%. Nobody knows for sure.”

How will people respond to much higher heating bills? “Now is the time for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency such as better insulation, windows, heat pumps and higher quality thermostats,” said President Ian Gartshore.

“Hydro could also introduce much stronger and innovative Power Smart energy efficiency programs to help with the transition,” he added.

The E-Plus increase would not affect the rate for other users, nor for the non-heating portion of E-Plus bills.


Ian Gartshore
Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island (Society)
353 Seventh St.
Nanaimo, B.C.

Ludo Bertsch
250-592-1488 (Victoria)

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