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FortisBC rates going up 6.74% in 2024

FortisBC says the rising cost of wholesale power and greater demands on its system will mean a 6.74 per cent general rate increase as of Jan. 1.

The BC Utilities Commission has given its blessing to the increase, which for the average residential customer works out to about $11.26 more per month, or $135.12 per year.

While the company generates power from its four Kootenay River dams, it also has long-term contracts with BC Hydro and buys from other producers on the wholesale market. It also sells power back to the market.

FortisBC says the cost of power has risen in recent years with the phasing out of coal plants, lower hydroelectricity generation and greater than expected demand for electricity due to population growth and increasing electrification of parts of the economy, such as electric vehicles.

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“As we continue to transition to a cleaner energy future, FortisBC is also mindful of ensuring the continued reliability and resiliency of B.C.’s energy systems,” vice president Joe Mazza said in a news release.

“This adjustment in electric rates will help ensure FortisBC can purchase sufficient electricity to meet our customers’ growing needs as well as make investments in maintenance and upgrades for its continued safe and reliable delivery to homes and businesses.”

FortisBC says it is also experiencing growing demand, particularly in Kelowna, and is investing in system upgrades to meet that demand, such as a $23 million expansion to a Kelowna substation this year.

As a regulated utility, FortisBC applies to the BCUC each year to set electricity rates for the following year.

“We understand that energy costs are an important consideration in household budgets and rising costs may be a concern for some customers,” Mazza said, adding anyone who has questions about their bill should contact them.

FortisBC provides power to most of the West Kootenay/Boundary, except for Nelson and the north shore of Kootenay Lake, served by Nelson Hydro; and the Arrow Lakes, Lardeau Valley, and upper Slocan Valley, which are served by BC Hydro; Grand Forks, which has its own distribution utility; and Sandon, which has its own historic generating plant.

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