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How Much Does Electricity Cost?

Electricity is measured as you draw from the power grid. It flows from the supply lines and through the electrical meter. As electricity flows through a conductor an electromagnetic field is created. The strength of the electromagnetic field is directly dependant on the amount of electricity being used. The greater the strength of the field the faster the meter spins. Or, the faster the digital meter computes.

Electrical use is measured in Watts. We are billed for electricity use in kWh (kilowatts per hour).

kWh = using 1000 Watts of electricity for 1 hour.

1 kWh = using 10   100W light bulbs for 1 hour     Cost 11 cents

1 kWh = running a 1000W vacuum for 1 hour        Cost 11 cents

We have a two level rate system in BC.  As of April, 2013 the Step 1 rate (up to 1,350 kWh) was 6.9 cents per kWh. The Step 2 rate (above 1,350 kWh) was 10.34 cents per kWh.

Up to about 2006, the rate across the board was 6.55 cents per kWh. Although we have low rates in BC, and most likely always will compared to the rest of the world, electricity rates will continue to increase. BC Hydro now applies other charges on top of electricity use charges, the bills we recive are definitely on the increase

Link to the BC Hydro web page on rates.


There are numerous ways to reduce electricity costs. The simplest is to just turn the power off wheever possible. Energy efficient appliances, timers, dimmers, LED or compact fluorescent bulbs and high efficiency fluorescent ballasts are another solution. Installing energy efficient windows and insulation.
Install a “grid tie” back up power system in your home or business and BC Hydro will pay you for the power you produce

Link to the BC Hydro web page on rebates.


The energy efficient ballasts are a great thing to do for commercial buildings. The energy savings (40-70%), combined with the rebates now offered by BC Hydro will pay for the entire project in 18-30 months. After that, the savings go directly to the bottom line.

Our population is increasing, energy use is increasing and electricity rates are increasing. The most efficient solution, from an electrical standpoint, is to build mega-project hydroelectric dams in out of the way places. then build another one on the same river a kilometer below it

British Columbians have been building dams since the turn of the century. The period of greatest activity occurred in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s when BC pursued an aggressive program of large-scale dam construction. Hydroelectric power production (for domestic use and export) was the major purpose of these large-scale dams. Most British Columbians embraced dam construction in the post-war period as a positive step toward economic prosperity. That began to change in the 1970’s as residents witnessed the some of the environmental and social costs of dams. The decline of fish stocks and the permanent drowning of productive farmland, valley-bottom forest, scenic canyons, and (in some cases) entire towns fueled a growing public opposition to new dams. During the 1970’s and 80’s, grass-roots lobbying blocked the construction of new dams on the Skagit, Stikine, and Peace rivers.

Recently, BC‘s provincial government responded to public opinion by legislatively protecting important salmon rivers against future dams under the Fish Protection Act. In addition, BC has embraced two important programs — the “BC Heritage Rivers System” and the “Canadian Heritage Rivers System” — which officially commemorate BC rivers that represent outstanding values of provincial and national significance. These values include history, culture, economy, recreation, and ecology.

Programs are in place for smaller private projects and many such projects are under way. As a homeowner or business owner you can install a grid-tie system and produce your own electricity. Slowing down your meter or feeding power back into the system and receiving a cheque from BC Hydro.

We want more electricity and we don’t want to pay very much for it. But we also don’t want to build hydroelectric projects. Something will have to give. At the moment, rates are increasing and incentives are being put in place to reduce usage.

Or visit our website at:   http://www.pacificstarelectric.ca/

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