The issue of BC Hydro’s two-tier billing is beginning to make the news again and I’m pleased that the new government has committed to looking into it.
Back in 2016, I received correspondence from a number of constituents expressing frustration over the-two tier billing system. I shared and continue to share their concerns. On May 27, 2016 I wrote a letter to Bill Bennett, the then Minister of Energy and Mines, asking for more information.
Electricity (produced from renewable sources) is the cleanest form of heating. We should be encouraging (not discouraging) its use. The idea that multi-tier pricing enhances conservation and efficiency, while theoretically correct, has obvious detrimental consequences. It inadvertently incentivizes fossil fuel use for heating and hot water. It also doesn’t differentiate between large and small homes, the number of people in a particular dwelling or if you drive an electric vehicle. For many, it is simply impossible to stay within Tier 1 year around.
A far more attractive approach would be to introduce time-of-day billing. By charging different rates at different times of the day (which is easy to do since the introduction of smart meters), rate-payers could optimize their energy usage (and help stabilize the electricity load). For example, cheaper rates in the evening or the night (where demand is low) would encourage people to charge their electrical vehicles then (instead of during the day). Programmable dishwashers, dryers and other appliances could also access this cheaper energy.
I look forward to seeing the elimination of the two-tier system. If this is an issue that is important to you, I encourage you to contact the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources at: EMPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca