BC - Cost of utilities

BC Utility Bills : How Much Does It Cost for Electricity, Water, Gas, Internet, Cable & Home Phones in 2021?

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of a Utility Bill in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of a utility bill in BC is $296.

British Columbia (BC) is the third largest and most westerly province in Canada. Lush rainforests, lakes, coastal waters, and high mountains make BC one of Canada’s most beautiful provinces. If you love trekking, spotting wildlife, or skiing, BC is your dream destination. Outside of the urban communities, British Columbia is relatively remote and one of the most expensive places to live in Canada. 

Should you move to BC? Let’s see how much it costs for electricity, water, gas, internet, cable & home phones in 2021 in BC.

Type of Utility Bill in BC

Average cost

The Average Cost of Electricity in BC

$127

The Average Cost of Water in BC

$62

The Average Cost of Gas in BC

$86

The Average Cost of Internet in BC

$52

The Average Cost of Cable in BC

$22

The Average Cost of Home Phones in BC

$33

Total Average Cost of Utilities in BC

(Per month, gas not included)

$296 per month

The Average Cost of Bills in British Columbia

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The Average Electricity Rates in BC

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of an Electricity Bill in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of an electricity bill in BC is $127.

How Does Electricity Work in BC?

The way electricity works in BC is extremely eco-centric because most of the electricity is generated from clean and renewable sources. 87% of BC’s electricity comes from large hydroelectric power. The rest of it comes from forest biomass, wind and landfill gas. 

The BC. Utilities Commission (BCUC) under the Utilities Commission Act regulates the electric utilities in the province and the BC electricity rates. BC Hydro has the authority to generate and distribute electricity to consumers, businesses, and BC utilities. Residents of BC cannot purchase their electricity from retail alternatives to BC Hydro and FortisBC.

Here’s a list of regulated utilities:

  • Crown-Owned Electric Utilities: 
  • British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority
  • Investor-Owned Electric Utilities: 
  • Corix Multi Utility Services Inc.
  • FortisBC Inc.
  • Hemlock Utility Services Ltd.
  • Silversmith Power & Light Corporation
  • Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.

As for BC hydro rates, most of the residential customers in BC are charged under the Residential Conservation Rate. This means you are charged one electricity rate to a certain point (threshold) in each billing period and a higher rate for any electricity used beyond that point. 

The lower Step 1 rate threshold is calculated by multiplying the number of days in the billing period by 22.1918 kWh per day. For example, a 60-day billing period would have a Step 1 threshold of 1,332 kWh (60 days x 22.1918 kWh per day)

What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of Electricity?

Following factors affect the cost of electricity (hydro) generation:

  • Transmission and distribution system
  • Power plant costs
  • Weather conditions
  • Regulations
  • Seasons and location
  • Utility
  • Type of user (residential, farm, business, industry, etc.)
  • Power factor (2% surcharge if your average power factor for the billing period falls below 90%)
  • Threshold (stepped rate structure)
  • Cost of electricity itself
  • Regulatory costs
  • Taxes

What Are the Average Monthly Electricity Rates in BC?

Both BC Hydro and Fortis BC charge you on a 60-day period.

Cost of Electricity in BC Based on Time-of-Use Rates

There are two different types of rates available in BC depending on what utility you go for:

  • Time-of-Use (TOU): Depends on when you use electricity, Off-peak and On peak.
  • Tiered: You can use a certain amount of energy each month at a lower price. Once you exceed the threshold, the price goes up accordingly. 

Time-of-Use (Fortis BC)

Rate

Off-peak

Summers:   11:00 pm – 9:00 am | Monday-Friday

                   11:00 am – 3:00 pm | Monday-Friday

Winters:    10:00 pm – 8:00 am | Monday-Friday

                  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Monday-Friday

*All hours on Saturday and Sunday

6.728 ¢/kWh

On peak

Summers: 9:00 am – 11:00 am | Monday-Friday

                  3:00 pm – 11:00 pm | Monday-Friday

Winters:   8:00 am – 1:00 pm | Monday-Friday

                 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Monday-Friday

20.775 ¢/kWh

  • Fixed Customer Charge: $39.41 per two-month period
  • Fortis BC only provides electricity in the Southern Interior region of BC.

Tiered:

All the calculations and rates are for a two-month billing period.

Company

Fixed Customer Charges (60 Days)

Threshold

Rate 

< threshold

Rate

>Threshold

BC Hydro

$12.4

1,350 kWh

9.39¢/ kWh

14.08¢/ kWh

FortisBC

$37.20

1,600 kWh

11.601¢/ kWh

14.118¢/ kWh

Electricity (kWh)

BC Hydro

FortisBC

1200 kWh

$125

$176

1500 kWh

$160

$211

2000 kWh

$230

$280

Average @ 1000 kWh/month

$127

Sources: CDN, BCHydro & Fortis BC

The Average Rates for BC Water Bills

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of a Water Bill in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of a water bill in BC is $62 for 20 m3 (25 mm meter.)

How Does Water Work in BC?

The way the water works in BC is that there are 122 privately owned water utilities serving approximately 20,000 households in the province of British Columbia. The Comptroller of Water Rights, assisted by staff in the Utility Regulation Section, regulates and oversees the whole operation of these utilities.

These water utilities deliver safe domestic water to your home and take care of the wastewater too. In return for these services, you pay an amount proportional to the usage in a month.

The pricing per unit of water depends on the season.

  • High season (drier months): When demand on the water system is high, rates are 25% higher to reflect the added cost of supplying water to the city.
  • Low season (rainy season): It rains a lot from mid-October to April, and hence the water supply is at its peak. Residents and commercial businesses enjoy a low off-peak rate.

The charges can vary from city to city and your local water utility. Most water bills in BC have two main components:

  • Fixed fee component:  Costs of billing, meter maintenance, and future meter replacement
  • Variable amount: Includes the cost of drawing water from the water source, treating, pumping and delivering the water to your house. Sewer metered charges are also variable. Water meter data is wirelessly collected from reading devices mounted to vehicles every billing cycle.

What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of Water?

Here are a few factors that affect the cost of water:

  • Maintenance and upgrades to the water system
  • Type of home
  • Meter size
  • Household members
  • Seasonal usage
  • Appliances
  • Water treatment plant costs

What Are the Average Rates for Water Bills per Month in BC?

Period

Average Rate Per Cubic Meter (m3)

Metered sewer rate

High season

(May 1 – October 15)

$1.5

$3.735

Low season

(All remaining months)

$1.2

$3.735

Average Monthly Water Bills Based on Meter Size in BC

Meter Size (mm) 

Average Fixed Cost

25mm

$35

40mm

$74

75 mm

$232

Average Monthly Water Bills by Cubic Meter in BC

Cubic Meter (m3) 

monthly usage

Average Cost

$1.35/m3

10 m3

1-2 people

$13.5

20 m3 

2-3 people

$27

30 m3

3-5 people

$40.5

Source: Vancouver.ca

Average Natural Gas Prices in BC

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of a Gas Bill in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of a gas bill in BC is $86.

How Does Natural Gas Work in BC?

The way natural gas works in BC is similar to other provinces like Ontario and Alberta. As a BC resident, you can choose your own natural gas provider. The gas utility can be a regulated retailer or a competitive retailer.

There are a number of authorized natural gas retailers who serve the residents of BC. These residential natural gas providers include:

  • Access Gas Services
  • Direct Energy
  • Just Energy
  • Planet Energy
  • Summitt Energy

If you choose to sign up for a retail natural gas plan, FortisBC will continue to deliver your gas and bill you for your usage, but the terms of the agreement with your retail provider will be applicable too. Deregulated natural breaks your natural gas bill into two parts: supply and delivery:

  • Supply charges: Comes from the retailer and accounts for the amount of natural gas you use each month.
  • Delivery charges: Comes from the utility (like FortisBC) and cover transportation and delivery costs.

You can also get fixed rates from a retailer instead of variable natural gas rates from a utility.

FortisBC (natural gas) is the largest distributor of natural gas in British Columbia, serving over 1,030,000 customers. FortisBC’s natural gas is about one third the cost of electricity in BC, so you can save a lot if you opt for a gas furnace. 

If you go for a regulated utility like FortisBC, you’ll have to pay the following:

    • Basic charge per day
    • Delivery charge per GJ
    • Storage and transport charge per GJ
    • Cost of gas per GJ

 

What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of Natural Gas?

British Columbia has abundant natural gas resources. Two of North America’s most promising natural gas plays – the Montney and Horn River – are located in British Columbia. Natural gas is traded in a competitive market where the sellers put gas on sale and the buyers (gas utility companies) bid for purchase. 

Here are a few other factors that affect the cost of natural gas in BC:

  • Municipality
  • Transmission and distribution service area
  • Storage and transport charge 
  • Season (winter or summer)
  • Delivery charge
  • Usage

What Are the Average Monthly Natural Gas Prices in BC?

Here are the residential natural gas rates for FortisBC:

Area

Basic charge per day*

Delivery charge per GJ

Storage and transport charge per GJ

Cost of gas per GJ

Mainland and Vancouver Island (including North and South Interior)

$0.4216

$5.024

$1.397

$2.844

*Basic charge that includes approximately 40 cents for the Clean Growth Innovation Fund.

The average monthly natural gas bill in BC is:

Average monthly consumption

Basic charge

30 Days

Delivery charge

Storage and transport charge

Cost of gas

Total monthly bill*

8 GJ

$13.07

$40.19

$11.18

$22.75

$86

Source: FortisBC

The Average Internet Prices in BC

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of Internet Bills in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of Internet bills in BC is $52.

How Does the Internet Work in BC?

Telecommunications are federally regulated in Canada through the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) deliver internet services to households.

There are four popular types of internet connections from various internet providers available in BC:

  • DSL (5-45 Mbps)
  • Cable (20-200 Mbps)
  • Fiber-optic (50-1000 Mbps)
  • Satellite ($50-$150)

You can use the National Broadband Internet Service Availability Map by the Government of Canada to see which ISPs operate in your area. These ISP’s charge you based on type of connection, the internet speed (download and upload) and bandwidth.

What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of My Internet Plan?

Here are the factors that affect the cost of your internet plan in BC:

What Is the Average Cost of Internet Bills per Month in BC?

According to the CRTC, Canada’s administrative tribunal regulating broadcasting and telecommunications, the average person in BC (Vancouver) pays $48 to $101 per month for a 50/10 Mbps service with unlimited monthly data transfer. Here are the average Internet costs in BC based on type of connection and speed. 

Type of Internet 

Mbps 

Average Cost

DSL

25/2.5 Mbps

$49.95/month

Cable

75/7.5 Mbps

$58.95/month

Fiber-optic

75/75 Mbps

$85/month

Satellite 

10 Mbps

$39.99/month

Sources: Telus, Distributel & OfferHub

The Average Cost of Cable TV in BC

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of Cable TV in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of cable TV in BC is $22.

How Does Cable Work in BC?

While IPTV and other streaming services are slowly replacing cable TV, some people still love the classic legacy cable TV. Cable TV works even in bad weather conditions and runs even if you don’t have access to an internet connection. Cable TV also has exclusive local channels that might not be available on your streaming service.

Many local cable TV providers are working in BC, offering various packages, prices, and features. Typically, you are charged based on how many basic and exclusive channels you opt for.

What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of Cable?

Here are the factors that affect the cost of cable:

    • Area of service
    • External factors (local competition, downturn in the cable market, etc.)
    • Local or provincial taxation and fee laws
    • Costs of shows and broadcasts
    • Cable prices
    • Number of channels
    • Type of channels (sports, international, local, news, entertainment, etc.) 
    • HD Channels
    • VOD (Video on Demand) availability

What Are Some Affordable Alternatives to Cable?

Legacy cable means “cables,” and lots of them. If you don’t want to get into the hassle, here are a few affordable alternatives to cable:

  • IPTV
  • Satellite TV
  • YouTube TV
  • FuboTV
  • Shaw TV
  • CipherTV (AEBC)
  • VMEDIA TV
  • Telus Optik TV

What Is the Average Cost of Cable TV per Month in BC?

According to the CRTC, the average person in BC (Vancouver) pays $18 to $25 per month for their cable plan. Here are the average cable costs in BC based on their type of plan. 

Type of cable plan 

Average Cost

Starter (30 Channels)

$25/month

Gold (62 Channels)

$40/month

Platinum (85 Channels)

$85/month

Sources: Comwave & FindInternet

The Average Cost of Home Phones in BC

How Much Is the Average Monthly Cost of Home Phones in BC?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly cost of home phones in BC is $33.

How Do Home Phones Work in BC?

Fixed landline use is declining in British Columbia, but many households still use it for quick and reliable communication. Both rural and urban households still use basic wireline telephone services. 

Many home phone service providers in BC offer unlimited calling within Canada and USA with low long-distance calling rates. The price plans differ based on the features being offered. 

Here are a few features you should look for in a home phone plan:

  • Caller ID with name
  • Remote voicemail access
  • Call waiting with caller
  • Caller ID block
  • Voicemail
  • Long-distance calling
  • Smart Ring
  •  

What Are the Factors Affecting the Cost of Home Phones?

Here are some of the factors that affect the cost of home phones:

  • Number of countries included in the plan
  • Added taxes or fees
  • Added features like (Long-distance calling, 3-way calling, caller ID block, online account management, etc.)
  • Voicemail
  • Call waiting

What Is the Average Cost of Home Phones per Month in BC?

According to the CRTC, the average household pays $33 for their landline home phone in Canada. The residents of Vancouver pay around $30 to $43 for basic wireline telephone service. 

Type of home phone plan

Average Cost

Unlimited Canada and USA 

Unlimited calling within Canada and USA & Low long-distance rates 

$20.00/month

Unlimited World Unlimited calling to over 60 countries & Low long-distance rates 

$27.00/month

Home Phone

Unlimited local calling &

Call Control – Basic

$30.00/month

Sources: VMEDIA & Telus 

City of Vancouver Average Utility Bill Cost

What Is the Average Monthly Utilities Cost in Vancouver?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average monthly utilities cost in Vancouver is $388.

Vancouver city is the capital of British Columbia. Half of all British Columbians live in the metropolitan area of Vancouver. It is in the top 5% of the most expensive cities globally and frequently ranks highly as one of the world’s most livable cities. The cost of living in Vancouver is around $2694.35 per month for a one bedroom. 

Average Monthly Utility Bill Cost in Vancouver

Utility 

Average Monthly Cost

Electricity

1000 kWh/month 

$127

Water

$41

Gas

8 GJ/month

$86

Internet 

50/10 Mbps-Unlimited

$75

Cable 

$22

Home Phone 

$37

Total average utilities cost in Vancouver

$388

Additional sources: Value of water & CRTC

The Average Cost of Utilities Across Canada

What Is the Average Cost of Utilities in Canada?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The average cost of utilities in Canada is $304.75 per month. (Only QC, ON, AB & BC included)

 

Electricity

Water

Gas

Internet 

Cable

Home Phone

Total Monthly Cost

Quebec

$216.00 

Included in Hydro

$76.08 

$57.00 

$21.50 

$31.00 

$325.50

(gas not included)

Ontario

$95.00

$58.00 

$42.00 

$54.00

$37.00 

$33.00 

$277.00 (gas not included)

Alberta

$132.00

$50.00

$141.00

$75.50

$22.00

$33.00

$320.50 (electricity not included)

British Columbia

$127.00

$62.00

$86.00

$52.00

$22.00

$33.00

$296.00 (gas not included)

The cost of living in Canada is around $2089 per month for a one bedroom apartment.

Note: If you are sharing cost with someone, it will be significantly lower. Also, if you are budgeting for a family, you’ll need to add the cost of each family member.

This is an approximation. The monthly cost will vary depending on the city you reside.

Conclusion

Utilities ensure that your household functions properly and remains comfortable, but the cost is recurring and variable. Knowing average household utility costs can help you reduce your usage and save tons of money at the end of the year.

British Columbia has a diverse economy, with service-producing industries accounting for the largest portion of the province’s GDP. It is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven national parks, seven recreational areas and one sanctuary. The opportunities are endless if you decide to move to BC.

Are you moving to BC soon? Check out 11 things to know when moving to British Columbia.

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