Getting hooked up with Vancouver utilities is fairly straight forward as there are only several choices for each utility, in some cases, only one.
Vancouver Hydro Electricity
BC Hydro handles the production and distribution of Vancouver hydro electricity. You can apply for a new account online, or by calling 1-800-224-9376. Vancouver hydro electricity billing is usually handled monthly based on the estimate of consumption for a 12-month period.
Vancouver Natural Gas
Terasen Gas is the primary supplier and distributor of Vancouver natural gas. New regulations have led to other suppliers entering the market, however, all Vancouver natural gas is still provided by Terasen, even if your bill comes from a different company.
Vancouver water service is billed differently depending on what type of place you’re living in. If you buy a condo or house that is part of a strata, your strata fees generally cover water. If you’re in a single home and not part of a strata, then your water will be billed as part of your municipal property tax as a flat rate. If you’re renting, your landlord is responsible for paying for Vancouver water service.
Vancouver Utilities: Phone, TV and Internet
There are a few major competitors for Vancouver TV, phone and Internet providers. Prices and packages are similar amongst the companies due to the lack of competition.
› Shaw Communications
: Shaw offers Vancouver cable TV, digital phone services, and cable Internet services. Shaw is the only company that offers Vancouver cable TV/Internet.
› Telus Corporation
: Telus offers Vancouver Internet services (DSL high-speed), phone (cellular and home phones), and satellite TV services.
› Rogers Communications
: Rogers offers Vancouver phone services (cellular only) and mobile Internet services.
› Bell Canada
: Bell Canada offers Vancouver TV services (satellite), phone (cellular only), mobile Internet services.
: Primus offers Vancouver Internet (DSL high-speed) and phone services (cellular and home phones).
Tips & Tricks
While there are few major suppliers for things like telephone and Internet services, the competition to gain customers between them is very intense. You can use this to get better prices and services.
For example, most companies that sell high-speed internet will give you a 3-month discount off their usual price for you to sign up with them. At the end of those three months your rate will go up. Try calling your Internet service provider just before your 3-month discount ends and ask to cancel your subscription. They'll often put you through to another department that will offer you incentives to remain a customer.
In the case of an Internet provider, they may offer to extend the low price or offer a lower base price, saving you anywhere between 15 and 40%, or they may offer free additional services or upgrades.
In the case of cell phone providers, they may provide you with a business rate that isn't offered to all customers, or a new phone with a bigger discount than they provide in store.
Because advertised pricing between the major utilities is fairly close, don't be afraid to ask for a better rate. And if the person you're talking to on the phone with says they can't do anything for you, ask to speak with their supervisor or someone who can help you.