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Kelowna  

Electricity rates may rise

Your electricity bill is likely going up again.

FortisBC is applying for a 3.6 per cent hike starting Jan. 1.

“This equates to an increase of $4.49 to the monthly bill for an average residential customer (based on 1,000 kilowatt hours per month),” the utility says in its application to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC). 

The company blamed a “revenue deficiency” of $12.7 million.

"Our costs are going up and we have to ensure the rates are adequate to recover those costs," said Nicole Bogdanovic, communications advisor with FortisBC.

She said increasing costs, like taxes and purchasing power, are outside of the company's control.

Bogdanovic said the increase is also due to more commercial customers than expected hooking up to the system – a cost shared by residential customers.

"We're trying to manage and keep rates as low as possible for customers," she said, adding the company has managed to cut its operating costs.

While the higher rate still needs to be approved by the BCUC, the utility often implements rate increases on an “interim basis” starting in the new year.

Electricity rates have been trending upward over time.

FortisBC rates went up three per cent in January 2015 to 9.85 cents for Tier 1 and 15.2 cents for Tier 2.

Meanwhile, Crown corporation BC Hydro charges its customers less for both tiers: 8.3 cents for Tier 1 and 12.4 cents for Tier 2.

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