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Major distribution connections

About major distribution connections

A major distribution connection is a residential, commercial or light industrial connection that’s greater than 5,000 kW in a 25 kV service area, or 2,500 kW in a 12 kV service area. These include:

  • Multi-tower, mixed-use projects.
  • Large commercial developments (office towers, hospitals, schools).
  • Light industrial projects (manufacturing, cannabis, greenhouses).
  • Medium-scale, energy-intensive operations (transportation, data centres, hydrogen facilities).

These connections can take years to plan, design and construct. We recommend that you contact us as early as possible in the planning and design phase of your project.

If your project is larger than a major distribution connection, see transmission connections.

Submit your request

If your project is suited for this connection type, the first step is to initiate your request for interconnection.

Request a major distribution connection

Our team will then review it to ensure all required information has been provided.

It’s important to provide timely and accurate information for your connection request throughout the connection process. Any changes in your request could change our study assumptions and may impact the result of the studies, cost estimate and timelines.

Distribution connection process

Submit your request, which asks for information such as the site location, service requirements, requested in-service date and key contacts for the project. After it’s submitted, we’ll contact you to discuss your request and confirm the information provided.

Timeline: One to two weeks.

After discussing your request with you, we’ll develop a conceptual servicing proposal, including a cost estimate and a timeline for detailed design. The cost estimate also includes the design deposit amount which will be required to move to the next step: detailed design.

The conceptual servicing proposal will be based on the estimated maximum demand for the first phase of development as provided in your request. This estimated maximum demand is the same value that will later be reflected in your electric service agreement.

Cost: No cost.

Timeline: One to two months for most projects.

We’ll complete the detailed design and engineering for the project and ask you to submit all remaining documents required for a formal service connection application.

At the end of this step, we’ll provide you with a terms and conditions letter for review and acceptance outlining the construction costs and detailed project deliverables. Payment will be required to move to the next step: construction.

Cost: Your design deposit amount must be paid to initiate this step. It varies depending on the project but is typically 7% to 15% of the full project estimate.

Timeline: One to two years, depending on the complexity of the project and resource availability.

We’ll initiate procurement for major equipment and the construction resource scheduling. This step includes:

  • Construction.
  • Commissioning.
  • Installation of BC Hydro’s revenue metering equipment.
  • Completing your required documentation including the electric service agreement (ESA).
  • Setting up your billing account.

Cost: Your construction cost must be paid in full to initiate this step. It varies depending on the project. You may also be asked to provide a Revenue Guarantee in advance of service connection.

Timeline: Six to 18 months, depending on the complexity of the project and resource availability.


Incentive funding may be available

The CleanBC Electrification Fund is available for fuel switching projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to help reduce the cost of connecting to our clean electricity grid.

Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Performance Metrics

Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Performance Metrics

Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Performance Metrics


Distribution service rates

BC Hydro major distribution customers are served under Tariff schedules 1600, 1601, 1610, and 1611 of the Electric Tariff [PDF, 3.5 MB].


Distribution connection requirements

As a connection customer, you must meet a set of general technical requirements to connect to the distribution system. Specifically, refer to the Primary Guide: Requirements for customer-owned primary services supplied at 4 kV to 35 kV.

In addition, you must also meet the specific connection requirements that are identified during connection studies.