skip to main content
Back to all blog posts

Posted in: Ratemaking | Climate Change / Renewables | British Columbia

Mar 13, 2018

British Columbia Utilities Commission Launches Inquiry to Review Regulation of Electric Vehicle Charging

By Zoë Thoms

The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) recently established an inquiry to review the regulation of electric vehicle (EV) charging services in the province. 

The inquiry evolved out of an application by FortisBC Inc. for approval of a $9.00 per half hour EV charging rate for service at FortisBC-owned charging stations. FortisBC stated that the proposed rate would recover the incremental costs of services associated with the charging stations over 10 years. FortisBC is installing the stations as part of the Accelerate Kootenays project, a community-driven initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of EVs in the region. The BCUC approved the requested rate on an interim basis in January 2018. In its decision, the BCUC noted that the rate design and rates for EV charging are in an early development stage in BC, and that other entities may emerge to provide EV charging services. The Commission adjourned the FortisBC application in favour of conducting the general inquiry.

The inquiry will accept input from the public and interveners on a number of regulatory questions, including:

  1. Do EV charging stations operate in a competitive environment in BC or are they a natural monopoly service?
  2. Are the customers of EV charging stations captive or do they have a choice?
  3. Should the Commission regulate the services provided by EV charging stations? What are benefits and detriments to such regulation?
  4. Should the rate design of EV charging stations be established under a public utility’s traditional cost of service model or some other model? And within that context, what are the customer pricing options (e.g. energy-based rate vs. time-based rate)?
  5. Should the EV charging station service rate be based on a public utility’s existing wholesale or commercial retail rate or some other rate?
  6. Should public utilities include EV charging stations in their regulated rate base or through a separate non-regulated entity? 
  7. If public utilities provide EV charging services within their regulated business, is there a risk of cross subsidization from other rate classes to support this new service and if so, is the proposed rate design potentially unduly discriminatory?

The Commission has adopted principles established in an early BCUC proceeding relating to the offering of alternative energy solutions1 for this inquiry – the Commission will only regulate where necessary, and regulation should not impede competitive markets.

Community input sessions are currently being held across the province. Intervenors have until March 16, 2018, to file their evidence.


1In the Matter of FortisBC Energy Inc. Inquiry into the Offering of Products and Services in Alternative Energy Solutions and Other New Initiatives Report dated December 27, 2012.

Areas of Expertise

Related Blogs

Posted in: Ratemaking | British Columbia | Energy Policy

Insights EnergyInsider
BCUC Rejects BC Hydro Request for a Rate Freeze By David Stevens Mar 08, 2018 On March 1, 2018, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) issued its Decision and Order for BC Hydro’s revenue requirement and rates for fiscal years 2017 to 2019. In the decision, the BCUC approved rate increases of 4% effective April 1, 2016, 3.5% effective April 1, 2017, and 3% effect...

Posted in: Practice & Procedure | Facilities | Ratemaking | Ontario

Insights EnergyInsider
OEB Varies Prior Decision Related to Sharing Property Sale Proceeds With Ratepayers By David Stevens Mar 01, 2018 On February 22, 2018, the Ontario Energy Board issued a Decision and Order reversing certain determinations made by a prior OEB panel about the sharing of proceeds from a property sale. This Review Motion Decision is the conclusion of a very lengthy motion to review and vary a July 2016 OEB Decis...

Posted in: Ontario | Ratemaking | Energy Policy

Insights EnergyInsider
Financial Accountability Office Finds Partial Sale of Hydro One Will Cost Ontarians in the Long Term By David Stevens Feb 22, 2018 Ontario completed its final sale of Hydro One shares in December 2017, having generated an estimated $9.2 billion in proceeds by selling 53% of Hydro One. On February 12, 2018, Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office released a report titled “Hydro One: Updated Analysis of the Partial Sale of H...