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Residential conservation rate

The residential conservation rate is a two block rate structure designed by the BCUC and FortisBC that encourages you to save energy. Essentially, it provides financial incentives if you use less electricity. 

As of January 1, 2017, the first 1,600 kWh you use bimonthly are charged at a lower rate of 10.117 cents – a lower rate than the previous flat rate. Your electricity use above this amount is then billed at a higher rate of 15.617 cents.

Five myths about the residential conservation rate 

Myth 1: FortisBC is making more money with the residential conservation rate.

​Fact: The residential conservation rate does not increase FortisBC’s earnings. Rates are set with the BC Utilities Commission to ensure the amount of revenue collected covers the cost of running the utility. The rate is designed to collect the same amount of revenue from residential customers as we would under a flat rate.

Myth 2: If I use more than 1,600 kWh every two months, my bill will be higher than in the past.

​Fact: Customers only see an increase if they use more than 2,500 kWh every two months. While the rate does increase after 1,600 kWh, customers are charged a lower rate on this first block. The breakeven is about 2,500 kWh.

Myth 3: Everyone pays more under the residential conservation rate.

Fact: About 71 per cent of our customers pay the same or less under the residential conservation rate compared to the previous flat rate. The average residential customer uses approximately 2,018 kWh every two months,* which is below the breakeven threshold of 2,500 kWh.

* Based on average 2012 electricity use for customers in FortisBC’s South Interior service area.

Myth 4: People with heat pumps are penalized under the residential conservation rate.

​Fact: A heat pump is the most efficient way to heat using electricity. While customers with heat pumps may use more electricity than those with natural gas heating, heat pumps are much more efficient than baseboard heating or electric furnaces. Energy cost savings for air source heat pumps compared to electric furnaces is approximately 30 per cent.* Mini split ductless heat pumps are an excellent replacement for electric baseboard heaters in homes with no ducting.

* Source: FortisBC’s home energy calculator. Based on a 2,300 square foot home with average insulation, comparing an electric furnace older than 15 years with a new, high-efficiency air source heat pump.

Myth 5: Without natural gas for heating, I have no options.

​Fact: Heat pumps are a very efficient and cost-effective way to heat using electricity. As well, improving the energy efficiency of your home by improving insulation and sealing any drafts can help manage the cost of electricity. LiveSmart BC and FortisBC provide valuable incentives and advice to help you make the best choices for your home.

Ways you can save

We offer many low and no-cost tips to help you save energy at home. You can also take advantage of rebates and financial incentives to make upgrading to energy saving technologies more affordable.​

 

 Additional questions

 
Will FortisBC revenues increase?

FortisBC will receive the same amount of revenue from residential customers. Increased revenues from customers who pay more will be offset by decreased revenues from customers who pay less.​

What is the per kWh rate for each block?
Block 1 rate – first 1,600 kWh of electricity are billed at 10.117 cents per billing period.
 
Block 2 rate – electricity use after the first 1,600 kWh are billed at 15.617 cents per billing period.
Why the change to a residential conservation rate?
The BC Utilities Commission mandated us to adjust our electricity rate structure to provide a price incentive to encourage conservation. About 71 per cent of our customers pay the same or less under the residential conservation rate compared to the previous flat rate.
How does this work for residential customers on the Equal Payment Plan who receive a monthly bill?
For these residential customers, the monthly basic charge and block size threshold is half (800 kWh).
Have rates changed for other customer classes to promote conservation?
Yes, all of our electricity rates have been adjusted to encourage conservation. As well, the BC Utilities Commission has directed us to implement an inclining block rate for our largest industrial customers in the near future.