In 2016 the BCUC sought comments from the public on RCR’s.
The following is what I sent in to demonstrate the effect of RCR’s on us. In summary, our costs increased dramatically and our consumption rose slightly ( being on electric heating we were unable to ‘conserve’).
You are welcome to publish this submission as it may promote some understanding of the unfairness of RCR’s and their financial impact on the 30% of consumers who rely on electricity for heating.
‘Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Residential Conservation Rates (RCR), as the block rates are also known.
I live in a 900 sq ft home which has no access to natural gas. As such I rely on FortisBC for electric heating (heat pump and baseboard heaters) as well as other electrical needs. The house had an energy assessment in 2013 and was found to be very efficient with only some weatherstripping required.
When RCR’s were introduced in mid 2012 I was very concerned that with a block 1 limit of 1600kwh’s, I would be into block 2 rates most of the year and be spending a lot more on power.
The other concern I had was those customers relying on electricity for heating have few means of conserving enough to avoid block 2 rates while those with natural gas for heating would be paying much less on average for electricity and have little financial incentive to conserve.
Essentially those using electricity for heating would be subsidizing electric rates for those with natural gas heating; basically neither would be conserving, one because they couldn’t and the other because there is little cost to not conserve.
My first concern has proven to be the case. I have looked at my consumption and billing for the 4 years prior to July 1, 2012 and the four years after July 1, 2102. Excepting the winter months, my 2 month billing is generally within 200kwh’s of the 1600 kwh limit.
The winter season costs have gone up dramatically since the RCR’s were introduced.
During the 2008-2011 period my average Nov/Dec bills were$340.63 and my average Jan/Feb bills were $335.97.
During the 2012-2016 period my average Nov/Dec bills were $518.75 and my average Jan/Feb bills were $530.62.
These figures represent increases of 52.3% and 57.9%. Kwh’s consumed during the same periods increased 6.8% and 14.8%.
In summary RCR’s have resulted in much higher electricity costs and there has been increased consumption as well i.e. no conservation.
My second original concern is also the case. My March 2016 bill excluding taxes and service charges, was $461.18 for 3598 kwh’s. This works out to $.1282/kwh compared to the block 1 cost of $.09845/kwh. I paid over 30% more per kwh than a home with natural gas heating which was able to stay on the block 1 rates.
In addition, immediately prior to July 1, 2012 the flat rate was $.09447. The block 1 rate is now $.09845. Homes with natural gas heating have seen only a 4.2% increase for most of their electric consumption. In comparison, the rate increase for my March 2016 bill was 35.7%.
The introduction of RCR’s has been grossly unfair for residents of homes with electric heating, especially for those with no access to natural gas. In these cases it has led to dramatic increases in electric costs with no meaningful way to conserve.
RCR’s have also been unfair relative to the electric costs homes with natural gas enjoy. They incur block 2 rates less often and their overall cost of electricity is much less, providing little incentive to conserve.
In summary, I don’t know how RCR’s could have been approved. My online search reveals that approximately 30% of residences in BC are heated with electricity; about 60% with natural gas. Of course, the former are higher electricity users but RCR’s are no solution. RCR’s have only led to a two tier system where the minority is unfairly penalized and subsidizes the majority.
I encourage the BCUC to terminate RCR’s.’