Nelson Hydro’s powerhouse on the Kootenay River is seen at right. File photo

Nelson Hydro’s powerhouse on the Kootenay River is seen at right. File photo

Nelson Hydro seeks customer feedback prior to rate review

A new rate design application will be submitted to the BC Utilities Commission in 2020

Submitted by Nelson Hydro

If you’re a Nelson Hydro customer, the local power provider wants to hear from you over the next few weeks.

A survey slated for this month is planned in preparation for a rate design application that will be submitted to the BC Utilities Commission in 2020.

Nelson Hydro General Manager Alex Love says the utility will soon be surveying residents of the city and surrounding rural areas on four important issues: customer service and reliability, infrastructure renewal, investment, and a review of everyone’s electricity rates. That includes residential and business ratepayers.

Within the next few weeks, Nelson Hydro customers will receive letters through Canada Post with easy-to-follow details on where to find the survey online, and how to access your copy of the questionnaire.

Your answers and personal information will be kept confidential.

“We’re looking for important feedback from our customers,” says Love. “We’d like our ratepayers to let us know how we’re doing when it comes to customer service and our performance during outages, as well as their thoughts on issues like rate fairness, energy conservation, and the safety and reliability of the utility’s infrastructure.”

Love explains that all utilities review the cost of service and rate design periodically to make sure rates reflect the fair allocation of costs to residential and business customers. This process is called a cost of service analysis.

The analysis aims to ensure one group of customers isn’t unfairly subsidizing another. Nelson Hydro’s electricity rate review will help determine what, if any, updates to its rate structures are needed.

Nelson Hydro completed its last analysis in December 2018, which identified some inequities amongst different customer groups.

Nelson Hydro — one of B.C.’s most unique municipally-owned utilities — supplies electrical service to 10,600 homes and businesses in the City of Nelson and the surrounding area, which includes Blewett, Taghum, Sproule and Grohman Creek, Highway 6 towards Salmo, Harrop, Procter, Balfour, and Queens Bay.

Nelson Hydro is the only municipally-owned and operated utility in B.C. to have its own generation, transmission and distribution systems.