BC Hydro public EV charging energy-based rates approved at last

by Tom Hackney and Bill Andrews

20 March 2024

The BC Utilities Commission has finally approved permanent, energy-based rates for BC Hydro’s public EV charging stations. BCSEA and the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association heave a joint sigh of relief!

BC Hydro initially applied to the BCUC for public fast charging rates two years ago, in March of 2021. At the time, BC Hydro relied on new provisions in the Province’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Clean Energy) Regulation to argue that the rates need not be designed to recover from EV customers all of BC Hydro’s costs of providing the service, i.e. that it would be acceptable to have BC Hydro’s public fast charging service supported by a small cross-subsidy from regular BC Hydro customers. BCSEA and VEVA supported that approach.  But the BCUC sharply rejected BC Hydro’s proposal, and ordered BC Hydro to file new EV charging rates application designed to fully recover the all the cost of service from EV drivers who use BC Hydro’s public charging service. (See Disappointing BCUC Decision on BC Hydro Rates for Public Fast Charging, 11 March 2022.)

In January 2023, BC Hydro again applied for approval of public EV charging rates, this time with no cross-subsidies on a ten-year levelized basis. In addition, the proposal was for energy-based rates ($/kWh) billing instead of time-based rates ($/minute). And the proposal also included rates for public Level 2 charging that BC Hydro will be implementing at the BC Government’s direction. With support from BCSEA and VEVA, the BCUC approved rates of 34.34 cents/kWh for all fast charging levels, and 28.28 cents/kWh for Level 2 charging. 

 The new rates will come into effect on June 1. The BCUC also gave BC Hydro discretion to impose a bill $0.40/minute “extended stay fee” to fast-charging customers who stay at charging stations after charging is complete.

BCSEA and VEVA are pleased that BC Hydro finally has approved, permanent, energy-based rates for is public EV charging services.