BC Hydro crew at work: the recent cold spell has included wind and ice-related power outages around the province.

BC Hydro offers new winter payment plan

Record high demand during cold snap and the latest increase in rates have pushed up power bills around B.C.

Cold weather has pushed electricity consumption to near-record levels, prompting BC Hydro to offer customers a new payment option to spread the cost over six months.

The winter payment plan averages BC Hydro bills for residential customers from Dec. 1 to March 31. It’s offered to customers who are not on the utility’s existing equal payment plan, which averages bills for the entire year.

Customers can participate in the winter payment plan by calling 1-800-BCHYDRO (1-800-224-9376).

Unusually cold weather in southern B.C. pushed power consumption to a record on Jan. 3, when demand peaked between 5 and 6 p.m. at 10,126 megawatts. That breaks a record set on Nov. 29, 2006, and for Metro Vancouver it is the longest spell of sub-zero weather in about 30 years.

Power bills are pushed up more by the latest BC Hydro rate increase, a four per cent hike that took effect last summer. The B.C. government-mandated rate plan calls for further increases of 3.5 per cent and three per cent in the next two years, after which authority over rates is to be returned to the B.C. Utilities Commission.

NDP energy critic Adrian Dix said the string of rate increases that began in 2013 is one reason why BC Hydro lowered its demand forecast last year. A series of politically driven rate increases totalling 28 per cent has placed an extra hardship on people with the onset of cold weather, he said.

“Any chance you give people to deal with massive rate increases in a cold winter is good,” Dix said. “I have no issue with them doing that. But let’s be clear, it’s a massive rate increase over the last number of years.”

Just Posted

B.C.’s north heats up to record highs

Bella Bella, Masset, Prince Rupert and the Cassiar Area all broke records

Special prosecutor appointed in Burns Lake mayor sex assault case

Luke Strimbold has been charged with numerous sex related charges

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C.-pioneered wood construction on a roll internationally

Washington state considers mandatory engineered wood for public buildings

Cops say gun-toting robbers used fake police lights to pull over victims

Information wanted on North Shuswap robbery, police impersonation, burnt vehicle, motorhome theft.

BCHL Today: Surrey Eagles and Powell River Kings close to advancing

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Plane filled with smoke lands at Nanaimo Airport

WestJet flight came in from Vancouver

VSO to perform ‘Star Wars’ music while 1977 movie plays on big screen

Three shows for the classic at iconic Orpheum Theatre this summer

B.C. emergency alert system being tested Wednesday

Alarm tone and message will play on TV and radio

BC Conservatives pumped by poll results

Surge in popularity has BC party picturing elected representatives in Victoria

Most Read