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​Overview

In September 2020, we applied to the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights to set water rates for the upcoming 2021-2023 rate period. The rates proposed in our application reflect the forecast costs of providing water service and maintaining and upgrading the French Creek water system during this timeframe. Our application is currently under review by the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights. You can find more information about our application, and the associated regulatory process, below.

Why rates are changing

We apply to set the water rates in French Creek every three years. The current rates will expire on December 31st, 2020. In our recent application, we proposed new rates for the upcoming 2021-2023 rate period. The proposed rates will enable EPCOR to carry out its scheduled operating and capital programs, which allows us to continue providing safe and reliable water service to our customers.

Breaking down the new rates

The proposed water rates reflect the costs to provide safe and reliable water service in French Creek. The new rates that we have proposed for 2021-2023 are relatively consistent with those from the previous rate period (2018-2020). For a customer consuming 20 cubic metres (m3) per month, the proposed adjustments to the 2021-2023 rates and rate riders will result approximately in a $1.74/month decrease in 2021, a $1.53/month increase in 2022 and a $1.62/month increase in 2023.

Rate riders applied in 2021-2023 are also proposed to refund outstanding balances in our deferral accounts for the 2018-2020 period. These deferral accounts were approved by Order No. 2528 on June 21, 2018.

We have also proposed an adjustment to our lowest rate tier from 15 cubic metres (m3) - 75 m3 to 12 m3 - 75 m3, which would result in a reduction to the monthly base rates. If approved, the reduction to the minimum rate tier will mean that a customer consuming less than 15 m3 per month will see a net reduction in their overall bill over the 2021-2023 period. A customer consuming more than 15m3 per month will see a small increase in their bill over the same period.

A summary of our proposed rates and rate riders is provided below.

Average residential* customer monthly bill

*based on consumption of 20 cubic metres (m3) per month

​2020 ​2021 ​2022 ​2023

Minimum Charge (consumption up to 12m3/month)

$46.30

$43.45

​$43.45

​$43.45

Additional Charge (consumption over 12m3/month)

$9.65 

$15.44

​$15.44

​$15.44

Rate Rider** (consumption up to 12m3/month)

               n/a

​-$3.48

​-$2.35

​-$1.13

Rate Rider** (consumption over 12m3/month)

               n/a

​-$1.20

​-$0.80

​-$0.40

Total Bill

$55.95

$54.21

​$55.74

​$57.36

Decrease to Monthly Bill

n/a​

$1.74 -$1.53​ -$1.62​

**Rate Rider reflects charges for outstanding balances in deferral accounts for the 2017-2020 rate period.

How these rates compare to neighbouring communities

Throughout the three-year period, EPCOR expects that water rates charged to its customers in French Creek will be within the range of rates charged in surrounding communities.

Monthly bills for residential customers

(Comparison of proposed 2021 rates with neighbouring communities 2020 rates escalated by 2%; based on consumption of 20m3/month)

 

When the new rates will take effect

In accordance with Order No. 2572 issued by the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights, the proposed rates will be applied to customers' bills effective January 1, 2021. Final water rates will be determined through the regulatory proceeding set out by the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights.

How rates are set

Water rates are based on forecast of costs to provide safe and reliable water services to customers.

  • EPCOR submits an application for the proposed rates to the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights for review and approval.
  • As with the previous rate application filed in 2017, the 2021-2023 rate application covers a three-year period.
  • The B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights has set out a regulatory process in Order No. 2572 to review the forecast costs and proposed rates.
  • This process provides an opportunity for customer input.

Regulatory timetable

​Action ​Due Date
​EPCOR sends notice of application to customers ​November 13, 2020
​Intervener registrations ​December 4, 2020
​Comptroller information request ​December 4, 2020
​Intervener information requests ​December 18, 2020
​Customer submissions due ​December 18, 2020
​EPCOR responses to information requests and any other questions submitted by customers due ​January 15, 2021
​EPCOR final submission ​January 22, 2021
​Intervener final submission ​January 29, 2021
​EPCOR reply submission ​February 5, 2021

Note: If additional rounds of information requests are required, the Deputy Comptroller will issue another Order/Revised Regulatory Timetable during the public hearing process.

Providing input

If you wish to actively participate in the proceeding should register as interveners in writing to the Secretary to the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights by December 4, 2021.

If you have comments on the application, please forward them to Chris McMillan, Secretary to the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights, before December 18, 2020, with a copy to EPCOR Water (West) Inc. Submissions can be mailed, emailed or faxed using the information below.

Chris McMillan
Secretary to the Deputy Comptroller of Water Rights
PO Box 9340 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9M1
Email: Chris.Mcmillan@gov.bc.ca
Fax: (250) 953-5124

Service Manager
EPCOR Water (West) Inc.
#10-D 1343 Alberni Highway
Pine Tree Centre
Parksville, BC  V9P 2B9
Email: regulatoryaffairs@epcor.com
Fax: (250) 954-0361

 Supporting documents

​Questions and Answers

What are deferral accounts?
​Deferral accounts are used to record the difference between forecast and actual revenues or costs which are difficult to forecast, volatile and outside of EPCOR's control. EPCOR currently uses four deferral accounts: consumption volumes, property tax, interest and hearing costs. Using deferral accounts ensures that costs which are outside of EPCOR's direct control are neither over- nor under-recovered.
What is a rate rider?
​A rate rider is a charge or credit, separate from your water consumption charge that is approved by the Comptroller of Water Rights and used to refund or charge for outstanding deferral account balances.
What are interim refundable rates?
Rates approved by the Comptroller charged on a temporary and refundable basis until final rates have been determined through a regulatory proceeding.