By Laura Keil

BC Hydro is applying to the BC Utilities commission to change the way it charges electric vehicles users at its stations across the province.

Up until now, BC Hydro has charged drivers based on the number of minutes spent charging, rather than the actual electricity. It has applied to change that so drivers only pay for the electricity used. The requested permanent energy-based rates are: 34.34 cents per kWh for all fast charging power levels; and 28.28 cents per kWh for Level 2 charging. An extended stay charge of 40 cents per minute (time spent “parked” at a charge station when the car isn’t charging).

Currently, the posted rate at the Valemount BC Hydro fast charge station is 21.21 cents per minute plus tax.

The rate EV customers currently pay at BC Hydro charge stations is significantly higher than they pay to charge up at home. Susan Edgell, Stakeholder Engagement Advisor for the Valemount area, says this is because the price paid at BC Hydro charge stations must account for the capital cost of installing the fast-charging station, which usually charges a vehicle much faster than a person can do at home. 

“Charging at home will always be the lowest cost option, but public fast charging provides a convenient option for quicker charging on the go or longer road trips.”

She says BC Hydro’s latest proposed rates to the Utilities Commission are based on a 10-year levelized rate, which means currently the rates customers pay is actually less than the cost to operate the service. In other words, over a 10-year period, the price customers pay will cover the cost of providing the charging station service.

“We expect a decision from the Utilities Commission on our updated application in the coming weeks.”