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Utilities regulator approves Nelson Hydro’s 9.7% rural increase for 2023

Nelson Hydro has applied for a 6.2 % increase for 2024 and BCUC is inviting public comment
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Nelson Hydro’s generating station on the Kootenay River. File photo

The BC Utilities Commission has approved Nelson Hydro’s 9.87 per cent rural rate for 2023, about a year after the city utility applied for it.

The city’s application to the BCUC described its costs and the revenue needed to provide electricity service to customers in its rural service territory, which extends from its power plant on the Kootenay River up Kootenay Lake to Coffee Creek north of Queens Bay, and along Highway 6 past Perrier Road. The increase does not apply to residents living within Nelson city limits.

The commission approved this increase for 2023 on an interim basis, and Nelson Hydro charged this rate to its rural customers through the year on the understanding that it might have to reimburse them if the BCUC did not permanently approve the increase, which it has now done.

“Nelson Hydro’s 2023 rates reflect changes in how rates are calculated between rural and urban customers based on Nelson Hydro’s cost of service analysis decision,” a Dec. 5 news release from the BCUC stated.

It adds that the rate increase is due to investments made in the rural service area, increased costs to purchase power from FortisBC Inc., inflation pressures and vegetation management expenses.

“The BCUC conducted an open and transparent review of Nelson Hydro’s application and considered evidence from ratepayer groups, customers, and Nelson Hydro, as well as letters of comment from the public before issuing its decision,” the news release says.

For 2024 Nelson Hydro has applied for a 6.2 per cent rural increase, which the BCUC has approved on an interim basis while inviting public comment by Feb. 29, 2024, at https://tinyurl.com/m8bpb5wr.

READ MORE: Nelson Hydro proposes 6.2% rural, 5.2% urban rate increases