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We heard you and are delivering your feedback on rate design

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by Michael Allison
August 21, 2017

Electricity

After six sessions in three towns over the course of two months and attracting a total of 148 attendees, we’ve concluded this phase of public consultation for our rate design application to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).

Thanks to everyone who came out to our June and July presentations in Kelowna, Osoyoos and Castlegar. For those of you who would like a recap of the presentation, or for those who couldn’t make it, you can view the slides from the presentation and submit comments on our website.

For next steps, we continue to gather feedback until September 30 to prepare our rate design application to be submitted to the BCUC this fall.

One message we heard from attendees was that they didn’t want us to raise rates. It’s important to remember that the FortisBC rate design process is not meant to address rate increases.

“You can think of FortisBC’s revenue requirements like a pie – accounting for all the costs involved in providing service to customers,” says Corey Sinclair, manager, regulatory affairs, with FortisBC. “For rate design, we’re not looking at making the pie bigger, since the BCUC has already determined our revenue requirements, rather we’re looking at how to divide the pie up.”

In essence, rate design determines how big of a slice of the pie each customer group (residential, commercial or industrial) needs to pay for in order to meet those revenue requirements. The result of examining the pie slices is a cost of service analysis, which is submitted to the BCUC for review.

We also heard from many customers that they felt the residential conservation rate (RCR), or two-tiered rate, originally put in place at the direction of the BCUC, was unfair.

At the consultation sessions, Corey explained that conservation was a policy promoted by the provincial government. As a regulator, the BCUC takes the government’s policy guidance into account when making decisions about how utilities, like FortisBC, should implement that policy.

With that said, we respect the views and opinions of our customers. We will be providing their feedback on the RCR to the BCUC.

During the sessions, Corey mentioned that if a group of customers wish to participate as interveners around a certain issue, they’re welcome to. Interested parties can even apply through the BCUC for paid legal representation during the proceedings.

Overall, this was an opportunity to consult directly with our customers about rate design. For those wishing to be a part of the process, the BCUC encourages interested parties and individuals to get involved in the regulatory process.

Thanks to everyone for participating!