By Richard McGuire
Special to the Chronicle
FortisBC is planning two public information meetings to discuss their proposed five-year phase-out of two-tier electricity rates, but neither meeting is in the South Okanagan.
The information sessions take place in Kelowna on Tuesday, Feb. 13 and in Castlegar on Friday, Feb. 16.
“We only had time to do two sessions and wanted to ensure both ends of our service region were represented,” said Nicole Bogdanovic, corporate communications advisor with FortisBC. “For the Okanagan, it made sense to have it in the area with the most customers.”
Bogdanovic said Fortis wants to make sure people with concerns had the information prior to the deadline to register with the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), which is Feb. 23.
“We would like people to know if they listen online during the Kelowna session, they can submit questions and view the presentation materials,” Bogdanovic added.
The Kelowna session is Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Best Western Plus.
Those not able to attend in person can listen to an audio broadcast online of the Kelowna session starting at 6 p.m. at allwestbc.com.
The Castlegar session is Friday, Feb. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Sandman Inn.
FortisBC says the information sessions will help customers to better understand the possible impacts of the rate design changes it is seeking from the BCUC.
The utility recently filed a Cost of Service and Rate Design application that determines how customers are billed for the electricity they use.
FortisBC is recommending a return to a flat rate by phasing out the current two-tier residential rate over a period of five years.
The application also reintroduces an optional time-of-use rate that would allow customers to reduce their electricity bills by shifting some of their electricity use to off-peak hours.
People wishing to participate with the BCUC on this issue can submit a letter of comment, register as an interested party or request intervener status.
Information and forms for these options can be found at: http://www.bcuc.com/get-involved/get-involved-proceeding.html.
The deadline for intervener registration is Friday, Feb. 23.
This proceeding is referred to as “2017 Cost of Service Analysis and Rate Design Application” and is Order Number G-23-18.
A procedural conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6 at the Best Western Plus, 2402 Highway 97, Kelowna.
At the procedural conference, the BCUC will hear from FortisBC and registered interveners.