Residents and businesses across British Columbia will need to embrace a hike in what they pay for electricity.
Beginning today, B.C. Hydro’s rates will go up by 4%, which is equivalent to approximately $4 per month for the average residential customer. Rates will continue to increase over the next seven years, going up by $4.11 in 2017, $3.74 in 2018, and $3.32 in 2019.
However, the electricity provider says its rates are the third lowest in North America for residential customers, the fourth lowest for commercial customers, and the fifth lowest for industrial customers.
Here are the nine lowest average monthly residential electricity bills in North America in 2015 (excluding taxes and fees), according to Hydro Quebec:
- Montreal: $71.91
- Winnipeg: $81.09
- Vancouver: $102.83
- Seattle: $124.37
- Toronto: $143.72
- Halifax: $160.30
- San Francisco: $276.94
- New York City: $289.04
- Boston: $300.33
The top three regions enjoy relatively low electricity rates as their systems mainly feed on power generated by hydroelectric dams, which is currently the cheapest way to produce power. Most of the systems elsewhere in North America depend on natural gas, dirty fuels, and nuclear fission.
B.C. Hydro’s planned rate increases can be attributed to inflation and the utility company’s upcoming capital projects, such as the renewal of aging infrastructure built 50 years ago, construction of the $1.093 billion John Hart generating station, and construction of the $8.353 billion Site C hydroelectric dam project.