(File Photo)

British Columbians are now set to pay 3% more on their BC Hydro rates, after a request for a rate freeze was rejected by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC).

The increase will come into effect on April 1st, 2018.

In November, the NDP announced BC Hydro rates would be frozen “immediately”, with the intention of undertaking a comprehensive review of BC Hydro. At the time, Michelle Mungall, BC Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources said, “After years of escalating electricity costs, British Columbians deserve a break on their bills.”

No longer the case

Mungall stated she was “very diappointed” with the BCUC’s decision to reject the rate freeze, and alluded to the mess the previous government had left behind. “I appreciate their rationale,” she said. “They were very clear in a nutshell that there’s a mess at B.C. Hydro. It needs to be cleaned up and I hear that.”

BCUC stated there was insufficient justification for the rate freeze, as their current revenue forecast would not meet their 2018 revenue requirements.

Mungall did say, however, that other initiatives will be put in place to help low-income ratepayers.

In May, an emergency grant of $600 will be put in place to aid people with significant outstanding BC Hydro bills. There will also be a “lifeline rate” that people with a demonstrated need for lower electricity rates can apply for.

BC Hydro’s debt is currently estimated to be about $22-billion.

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