With British Columbia having some of the highest housing prices, it comes as no surprise that hydro bills are also a big bill to pay for most residents. However, BC hydro bills could lower and residents could start paying less for electricity by next year if the BC Utilities Commission approves the request by the provincial government to reduce rates. This would bring the first decrease on hydro bills that residents have seen for over a decade. 

The request to reduce the rate by one percent came after the Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2021 Revenue Requirements Application with BC Utilities Commission was updated. Initially, in February of 2019, BC Hydro requested an increase of the rate by 0.7 percent but has now requested to amend that to a decrease of 0.99 percent. 

The amendment came after BC Hydro's audited fiscal 2019 results and its latest financial forecast showed higher income than anticipated and lower forecast debt than anticipated. The province says it is in a position to request the decrease.

“As a result of our updated financial forecast, we’re in the unique position to apply for a rate decrease for our customers that would start on April 1, 2020, if approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission,” said Chris O'Riley in a statement Friday.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said in a statement Friday, that for the past two years the provincial government has been focusing on making sure BC Hydro works for the people again.

“I am thrilled that BC Hydro is now able to apply for a rate reduction for the first time in decades. If approved by our independent regulator, lower rates would make life better and more affordable for British Columbians,” she added.

BC Hydro's application to the BC Utilities Commission also includes the forecast net bill impacts for the next four years. By April 2020 the amended 0.99 percent decrease is expected.

However, it seems that the lower prices won't last forever as an increase of 2.7 percent by April 2021 is expected. Yet, there is another expected decrease by April 2022, of 0.3 percent, which is followed up by an increase of 3 percent by April 2023.

What this means is that, even if approved British Columbians will still pay more over the four year period. The updated rate decrease does, however, lower the total cost by 23 percent from the original amount announced in February.

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