Nelson Hydro Rural Customers

2021 Nelson Hydro Rate Increase for Rural Residents

Information for our Rural Residential Customers (outside City of Nelson boundaries).

Serving our Rural Customers Since 1922

The following provides information on the proposed rate increases for our rural customers to address the additional costs to provide a safe and reliable service. 

  • Rebates and other energy conservation programs are available to help you reduce your electricity bill. 
  • Rates for rural customers are regulated by the BC Utilities Commission.
  • Rates for City of Nelson customers are regulated by the Nelson City Council. For information on the general rate increase for City of Nelson customers please click here.

Nelson Hydro General Rate Increase

To meet the rising cost of providing power, Nelson Hydro must adjust its rates for both city and rural customers. This rate increase is necessary to cover the 3.46% rate increase in our power purchase costs from FortisBC and includes other direct inflationary costs such as supplies and labour. More funds have been allocated for Vegetation Management in 2022 as well as storm response to mitigate the impact that climate change is having on our customers.  These factors result in the necessity for a general rate increase for all Nelson Hydro customers of 2.5% effective January 1, 2022.

Nelson Hydro Cost of Service and Rate Design Application (COSA)

Nelson Hydro has filed a Cost of Service Analysis (COSA) and Rate Design Application with the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) requesting, among other items, approval to increase rural residential rates. Rates would be increased by 5.72% on September 1 in 2021, 2022 and 2023. This adjusts rural rates to those recommended in the cost of service analysis, which indicates the current rates do not recover the full costs of serving the rural customers by approximately $1.5 million per year.

City Council has also committed to adjusting rates for City of Nelson customers to reflect the recommendations in the COSA study.

Increasing Rates Support Increased Reliability

The proposed rate increase will allow Nelson Hydro to continue with its expanded vegetation management and capital infrastructure upgrade programs. These programs provide increased reliability, safety and the cost to respond to downed power lines, It also allows Nelson Hydro to respond promptly to major storm events such as the one that occurred on January 13, 2021. 

In photo below: Damage to a power pole in the Mountain Station neighbourhood above Nelson on January 13, 2021.


Rates for a Typical Rural Customer

Based on an average use of 850 kWh/month, a typical rural customer’s annual Nelson Hydro bill was $1,179 in 2019 a or $98 per month. In 2023, this same customer’s bill would be $1,393 or $116 per month.

In 2023, the typical customer would pay less than $4 per day for all of their electrical use.

With the full phase-in of rates, the typical rural residential customer’s power bill would be approximately 4.4% lower than the FortisBC rate. FortisBC has typically had higher rate increases than Nelson Hydro so the rural residential rate should be even lower after the 3-year phase-in.

Once the COSA recommendations for the city residents are also implemented, the city electrical rates will reflect where they had been historically, which is 6% less than the rural area.

Nelson Hydro Graph for Website

Meeting Customers’ Expectations

The rate design application takes into consideration the feedback we received from our customers.  In 2018, Nelson Hydro conducted a customer service survey.  The survey found that 74% of rural and 82% of urban hydro customers agree that all customer classes should pay their fair share of costs.   It also identified that 88% of rural customers wanted Nelson Hydro to address reliability concerns and 90% of rural customers felt their rates should not exceed FortisBC electrical rates.  

The majority of all customers also recommended that any necessary rate increases should be phased in to moderate the impact in any one year. 

Lower your Bill by Lowering your Energy Use.

We are committed to working with all of our customers to achieve the savings that will allow us to maintain the system and reduce the impact of this rate increase on your pocket book. 

Our energy savings programs can help you save up to 30% or more on your energy bills. 

Lower energy use benefits everyone. By reducing your energy use, you not only lower your hydro bill but you also reduce the amount of power Nelson Hydro needs to purchase. 

Check out Nelson’s EcoSave Program for energy-saving tips, energy evaluations, energy consumption monitors, infrared camera kits, and an infrared heat map of your home and learn how to save 30% and more on your energy bills. By using less energy, your personal impact on climate change is lessened. 

Locally Owned for Local Benefit

Nelson Hydro has been serving our rural customers since 1922. As a local-owned City utility, Nelson Hydro provides a number of services that benefit the community – from providing a safe, reliable source of electricity with our vegetation management program, to our EcoSave programs and rebates to help you reduce your energy use and your hydro bill.

 Like all other utilities, the City of Nelson earns a rate of return as a way to generate revenue to maintain these electrical assets and uses these funds to reinvest in the City, helping to pay for things like parks, arts, the heritage street lights in the downtown, all for the benefit of everyone who lives, works or plays in and around Nelson. 

With no industrial tax base and taxation only from residential and small commercial businesses, these things simply would not be provided at today’s levels if the City of Nelson was not making this return.

Need more information?

  • Contact Nelson Hydro at 250-352-8254 or email the Deputy City Officer at for more information on the proposed rate increases.
  • View the BCUC Notification Letter, mailed to rural customers in mid-January.
  • View the Nelson Hydro letter, mailed to rural customers at the end of January.