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22/04/2014

The City of New Westminster Electrical Department runs the oldest continuously - operating electrical utility in British Columbia. Initially referred to as the Light Department, the City began generating electricity for streetlights in 1891. Today the Electrical Department distributes electricity to 28,000 residential customers and 3,000 commercial/business customers. The Electrical Services Division maintains the electrical systems at a majority of all City-owned facilities including City Hall and all City streetlights, traffic signals within the municipal boundary.

  • City of New Westminster - Electrical Department
    905 First Street, New Westminster, BC
    V3L 2J1

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      Application for service can be made by phone, fax, or mail.

      Contact:
      Phone: 604-527-4555
      Fax: 604-521-3895

      Mailing Address:
      511 Royal Avenue
      New Westminster, BC  V3L 1H9

      A refundable security deposit is required from each new Commercial customer in the amount of three times an average monthly bill for electrical service at the premise. No security deposit is required for Residential customers.

      Online Application to Start Residential Electrical Service

    • To discontinue electrical service, please call, fax, or mail to the Utilities department at City Hall. Our phone number is 604-527-4555, fax number is 604-521-3895, and our address is 511 Royal Avenue, New Westminster, BC, V3L 1H9.

      Online Application to Terminate Residential Electrical Service


    • Billing is done on a cyclical basis with Residential accounts billed every two months and Commercial accounts billed every month.

      A 21 day Due Date is printed on each Utility bill at the time of printing. The bill becomes Overdue 60 days after its original billing date, and at that time reminder notices are printed to advise the customer of the overdue amount. A second reminder notice is printed if there is no response to the first (70 days after billing), and if there is still no response, the service is subsequently disconnected (77 days after billing). Once disconnected, the service will be reconnected only if the account is paid in full, plus the appropriate reconnection charge.

      In an effort to assist customers who may be going to be away for an extended period of time or who may otherwise be unable to manage payment of their bills, we encourage them to have their bills sent to an alternate contact person. Often this alternate contact person is a relative who ensure that all Utility bills are paid on time. Less often it is the Public Trustee who has taken on the management of the financial affairs of a customer.

      The current rates can be viewed here.


    • To make paying utility bill and property taxes as convenient as possible, the following options are available:

      • By mail or in person at:

      511 Royal Avenue
      New Westminster, BC V3L 1H9

      Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

      Cash, cheque or debit card (effective April 1, 2000) accepted at City Hall. After hours payments may be dropped off in the City Hall drop-off box located at the north entrance of City Hall.

      • At any chartered bank and participating trust companies and credit unions.
      • By telephone or online banking service. Please contact your bank or financial institution for further information.
      • Queensborough Community Centre

      920 Ewen Avenue
      Office Hours:
      Monday - Thursday (9:00 am to 6:00 pm)
      Friday (9:00 am - 3:30 pm)

      • Authorized agents:
        Royal City Drugs, 708 6th Street, New Westminster
      • At automated banking machines.
      • Pre-authorized Electric Utility Payment (pdf)
      • Pre-authorized Payment (pdf) (for Property Taxes and Residential Flat Rate Utilities only). Allows you to prepay next year's taxes and residential flat rate utilities by automatic monthly withdrawals from your bank account. More information and application forms are available at the Property Tax Department.

      At the present time there is no provision for an equal payment plan billing option for the Electrical Utility.

    • Engineering consultants, contractors and home owners are urged to check the location of electrical utility components so details may be included on their drawings. Plans may be submitted by mail to:

      905 First Street
      New Westminster, BC V3L 2J1

      Enquiries:
      Phone: 604-527-4528
      Fax: 604-525-3713.

       

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      Contractors must adhere to WorkSafe BC Health and Safety Regulations when working in close proximity to electrical lines. Electrical Design and Engineering should be contacted before any work is done to ensure appropriate safety measures are taken. For further information, please call 604-527-4528.


    • An interactive map showing the City of New Westminster's electrical network.

       
       

      BETA: CNW Electrical Network


      Please Note: If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or 9, the map viewer will work in compatibility view. In the Menu Bar, go to Tools > Compatibility View Settings

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      Electrical outages may occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents, severe weather, or equipment failure. If you are experiencing a fluctuation or cessation of electrical supply, reporting traffic signal malfunction, wires down or any other electrical emergency during regular business hours (Mon - Fri, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm), please call the following numbers:

      604-515-3750 or 604-527-4528

      If calling outside regular business hours (evenings and weekends), call 604-526-8875 (BC Hydro Emergency Dispatch).

      For non-emergency reports including street light outages, please call 604-515-3750 or 604-527-4528 during regular business hours (Mon - Fri, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm).

       

    • Irving House Museum had an old piece of machinery that was rotting in the weeds under their back stairs.

      Above: The brick coal gasification building, located on the corner of Third Avenue and Twelfth Street was built in 1886 and designed by prominent architect George W. Grant. It is one of three remaining coal gasification plant buildings remaining in BC and has provincial heritage significance.

      The machine was definitely electrical in nature, and the City decided to rescue it, hereupon it was dragged back to the Electrical Operations Shop. Closer investigation revealed it to be some kind of generator, and the Citys intention was to restore it for display as part of the Electrical Department's heritage.

      Over the past few years the Electrical Department has collected many original tools and electrical components that were used in the Electrical Distribution System, and these are proudly displayed in the Operations Shop at the works yard.

      When Digby Turney, one of the City electricians, retired, he brought in some photographs that belonged to his grandfather, Mr. J.C. Digby. Mr. Digby was the City's first City Electrician, retiring in 1937, and these photographs document the early generators, switching controls and boilers that were part of the electrical system. A close look at two of the photos revealed the presence of none other than the mysterious machine rescued from under the Irving House steps, which was apparently used to power the street lights. The earliest date on the photos was 1891.

      Further research has, in fact, substantiated the claim to 1891 being the centenary of the City's own electrical system. According to January 1891 issues of the "British Columbian", "the new electric power house contained boilers with 280 HP capacity, one 180 HP steam engine, a dynamo for energizing 650 incandescent lights, and a street lighting dynamo to power 50 street lights of carbon arc design." It is believed the brick power house still stands, off 10th Street and Queens.

      A curious wood building, shaped like a corn crib, was located behind the power house. It was loaded with sawdust by a fan located in the Royal City Mills, blowing the sawdust down a wooden trough, and then fed into the boilers by conveyor belt.

      On January 2, 1891, the "British Columbian" records that:

       

      Above: The heritage generator.
      Shortly after 5:00 o'clock this evening a large number of people gathered in the dynamo room, among those present being Mayor Brown, the Lady Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs. Hoy. The machinery was curiously inspected by the visitors and, to those who did not understand the science of the system, it seemed remarkable how the light was produced. At 5:15 o'clock, the signal was given by Mr. Bowler to turn on the light, and prompt to the word, Mayor Brown's eldest son, David, turned the handles, and the City of Westminster was ablaze with the new electric light.

      The turning on of the light was a great surprise to the majority of the people on Columbia Street, who little imagined the new service would be in force for a good while yet. These lights were located along Columbia Street and Front Street, and replaced the gas powered street lighting.

      When the electric plant was fully developed, in December 1891, it was valued at $85,000. Our new Royal Substation had a construction value of $6,500,000, in 1990, which is a 76 times increase. The salary of Mr. Bowler, who was the City Electrician at that time, was recorded at $110 month.

      The restoration of the generator was completed by Mr. Al Robinson and his staff at Wismer and Rawlings Electric Ltd, a well known Company that specializes in rebuilding, maintaining and servicing electrical industrial equipment and apparatus. The staff of Wismer and Rawlings voluntarily donated their labour and expertise for this project.

       


    • from left to right: Angela Danielisz, Paul Daminato, Martin Gifford (Chair), 
      Mayor Wayne Wright ,Terry Parsons, Don McLellan and Rod Carle.

       

      The purpose of the Commission is to provide accountable, effective stewardship and strategic direction tailored to the unique needs of an electric utility operating in a municipal environment consistent with the enterprise’s mandate and objectives. Its purpose is to ensure that the Enterprise is managed in a manner that is sensitive to both the revenue generating, service provision needs and other policies of the City on one hand and the operational and regulatory requirements of the industry on the other. In particular, it is to provide oversight and direction that is industry-knowledgeable to ensure the Utility is appropriately strategically positioned, both in the current industry and in regard to expected developments.

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