The Association of Major Power Customers (AMPC) of British Columbia is a registered not-for-profit society whose members are major industrial electricity customers in BC. AMPC’s focus is on electricity regulatory and policy issues, to ensure BC industrial users have access to reliable and secure electric power and programming at competitive, fair, and stable rates.
AMPC advocates for competitive rates in order to continue growing and maintaining jobs in BC. Electricity costs heavily influence the decisions of major industries to invest in BC. Electricity costs make up a large portion of operating costs for industry and are an influencing factor in the economics of maintaining or expanding operations. As major employers in the province with wide reaching operations, low cost and reliable electricity supports economic development and a strong and competitive economy.
The Association of Major Power
Customers of BC (AMPC) is a
registered not-for-profit society with
membership expanding across several
industrial sectors, including:
Pulp and Paper
Solid Wood and Other Wood Products
AMPC members’ electricity consumption represents about 20% of domestic electricity load in British Columbia. Several AMPC members have facilities at multiple locations, with members ranging to include large commercial, small industrial to large industrial. Some AMPC members have significant cogeneration and renewable generation facilities.
AMPC started informally as the Joint Industry Electricity Steering Committee (JIESC) in 1981 to i) minimize the cost of regulatory intervention by pooling the cost across membership, ii) increase the efficacy as a group, and iii) keep electricity rates low in BC’s publicly-owned monopolistic electricity market. Prior to that representation was provided by the Council of Forest Industries and the Mining Association of B.C.
AMPC and its predecessors have been active participants in the British Columbia Utilities Commission proceedings since BC Hydro became rate-regulated nearly four decades ago. Today, AMPC remains focused on regulatory and policy issues related to electricity, in pursuit of access to reliable and secure electric power at competitive, fair, and stable rates.
Electricity issues can be complex. AMPC provides regular communications and support to its members on electricity issues. AMPC provides expertise and research on electricity policy and engages with policy makers and other customer groups to advise and advocate for issues that affect electricity reliability and cost.
Further, AMPC is an active participant in electricity-related regulatory proceedings including rate setting, resource development and rate design. BC Hydro’s hydroelectric generation foundation should provide BC industry with a competitive advantage as competing jurisdictions invest in low carbon electricity infrastructure. However, BC Hydro electricity rates for large industrial users have been decreasing in competitiveness to other Canadian hydro utilities over the past decade. Energy represents one of the largest operating costs for several sectors and is often managed by shifting production and investment to the lowest cost regions. Competitive electricity rates are therefore paramount to future industrial success in BC, both in maintaining industrial load, encouraging load/investment growth and attracting new industry.
AMPC’s activities focus on restoring competitive and sustainable electricity rates in BC by prioritizing the following objectives:
Adhering to well-established, core objectives of traditional utility regulation of BC Hydro (including avoiding cross-subsidies) by allowing the BCUC to exercise independent and efficient oversight;
Ensuring least-cost solutions for BC Hydro utility operations and planning;
Ensuring competitive electricity rates and attractive optional rates; and
Pursuing BC Hydro supported rate options that have been tested with, and widely supported by industry, as recovery tools to mitigate the risk of load destruction and economic consequences of uncompetitiveness (including market-based optional rates such as the freshet rate and the incremental energy rate). AMPC believes that these rates and programs can be successfully implemented while preserving the existing rate framework or, at a minimum, assist in a smooth transition to a new rate design structure.
Benefit of Membership
AMPC meets regularly to discuss electricity and economic issues facing industry in BC and represents commercial and industrial interests in the electricity sector. AMPC focuses its efforts in three main ways:
Engaging with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and participating in government initiatives (including the recent Comprehensive Review of BC Hydro),
Regular communications with BC Hydro and participation in BC Hydro stakeholder initiatives, and
Intervention in electricity related proceedings before the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC).
With AMPC's united stance, industrial electricity interests are represented with a stronger voice on issues and in a much more cost-effective manner than if individual companies pursued these matters on their own. AMPC’s accomplishments include:
Direct Base Rate Savings – Through intervention in BC Hydro and FortisBC rate proceedings before the BCUC, AMPC has focused its intervention on revenue requirement, return on equity, resource planning/needs and cost of service. This intervention has resulted in decreased rates compared to the proposed electricity base rates.
Bill Savings via Participation in Optional Programs – AMPC often works with BC Hydro and participates in proceedings before the BCUC to develop industrial and commercial electricity programs. This includes interruptible industrial electricity contracts, market reference rate options such as the incremental energy pilot for excess electricity purchases at market prices and the freshet rate specifically for the spring runoff period, DSM programs, industrial electrification opportunities, and load displacement programs. AMPC is currently working with BC Hydro on the transmission service tiered rate structure, in place since 2006, to increase competitiveness and provide for electric load growth opportunities.
Avoided Rate Increases – AMPC works with BC Hydro and the BC government to ensure rate competitiveness is a priority in decision-making and planning for BC Hydro with the aim at avoiding future need for rate increases. Past success includes supporting the relaxation of parameters and planning criteria to reduce Independent Power Producers procurement and costs, the rate caps and rate smoothing government initiative for BC Hydro’s rates from 2013 – 2018, supporting the reduction of mandatory reliability standards that reduce costs through avoided infrastructure, and a focus on cost of service and rate design methodologies to avoid cross-subsidies and ensure commercial and industrial rates are set based on the cost to serve these classes.
Elimination of the Provincial Sales Tax on Electricity: AMPC worked closely with several stakeholder groups and The Commission on Tax Competitiveness to eliminate the collection of PST on electricity for industrial users in BC. As a result of this work, PST collection on electricity was reduced from 7% to 3.5% on October 1, 2017 and fully eliminated starting April 1, 2019. Prior to elimination, BC was the only jurisdiction to levy a sales tax on electricity for business.
Implementation of COVID-19 Relief Programs for Industrial Users: AMPC worked directly with government and BC Hydro to quickly implement and then extend COVID-19 relief programs. The result of these efforts included temporary measures to reduce the financial pressures of COVID-19 on industrial electricity bills including: i) Demand Charge Relief for eligible industrial customers, calculating demand charges based on average electricity use rather than a customer’s peak use, and ii) the Industrial Customer Payment Plan to defer electricity bill payments for eligible industrial customers during the initial months of the pandemic.
All inquiries regarding AMPC and potential membership can be made to