A chart provided by BC Hydro suggests it should cost $86.83 per month ($1042 a year) to charge an electric vehicle doing a five-day-a-week round trip commute from Chilliwack to Vancouver. (BC Hydro graphic)

A chart provided by BC Hydro suggests it should cost $86.83 per month ($1042 a year) to charge an electric vehicle doing a five-day-a-week round trip commute from Chilliwack to Vancouver. (BC Hydro graphic)

Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

A Rosedale man thought he was doing his part to help the environment and fight global warming when he bought a Chevy Bolt.

But his latest BC Hydro bill has Brian Chwiendacz questioning his decision.

Chwiendacz was shocked to see a charge of $287.86 after paying $89.05 and $90.87 on his two previous bills.

“We charge the car at home and use our electricity,” he said. “But we were never told, ‘Oh thank you for going green, but the government will now make you pay for that.’ How does this make sense?”

Chwiendacz says he has followed BC Hydro’s recommendation to charge between 11 p.m. and midnight.

BC Hydro introduced a two-step residential conservation rate in October of 2018, incentivizing customers to turn off lights and take other steps to reduce their power usage.

• RELATED: Businesses, non-profits can apply for electric vehicle rebates in B.C.

• RELATED: Electric car sales climb in wake of new $5,000 federal rebate program

In Chwiendacz’s case, he was charged $130.03 at the step one rate of $0.0945/kilowatt-hours, and another $130.65 when car charging bumped him up to the step two rate of $0.1417/kilowatt-hours.

“I called the BC Hydro number and talked to one of their representatives while I had the BC Hydro web site open on my computer,” he said. “After we talked for a bit he told me that he agreed that we should not have to pay the higher rate because of the electric vehicle being charged.”

BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott said Chwiendacz’s experience of a dramatic spike is not a common one, but an increase on the electrical bill should be expected when an electrical vehicle is purchased. She said that’s usually more than offset by not needing to fuel up a vehicle.

“Most electrical vehicle (EV) drivers make the switch because our electricity is clean and they save a lot in fuel costs,” she noted. “Charging at home is about 75 per cent cheaper than gas. For example, a Nissan Leaf can travel 100 kilometres for just $2 in electricity costs – a tiny fraction of what it would cost to drive an equivalent gas-powered car the same distance.

“We’re also looking at future rate options for EV drivers that could include off-peak (overnight) charging. This could be at a lower rate to encourage more British Columbians to make the switch to driving an EV.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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