FortisBC natural gas customers benefit from recent BC Utilities Commission decision

Most regions to see commodity rate decreases

SURREY, BC, March 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) confirmed today that, most of FortisBC's natural gas customers will see a commodity rate decrease starting April 1, 2012. This also includes piped propane customers living in Revelstoke. Midstream and delivery rates for customers are not affected by this decision.

"The rates approved today are allowing our customers to continue to benefit from some of the lowest delivered natural gas prices in more than a decade," said Cynthia Des Brisay, Vice President of Energy Supply and Resource Development.

"A mild North American winter, growing supply of natural gas and reduced demand have come together to keep natural gas prices low. "This has allowed us to flow through a natural gas and a propane rate decrease at this time."

Natural gas and propane rates will change as follows on April 1, 2012:

Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North and the Kootenays

  • Commodity rate decrease of $1.028 per gigajoule (GJ) for customers, meaning the commodity rate will drop from $4.005 per GJ to $2.977 per GJ. The average residential customer using approximately 95 GJ per year will see a decrease of approximately $98 per year or a 9.9 per cent decrease. Commodity rates for customers participating in the Customer Choice program will not be affected, as they purchase the gas commodity from a licensed gas marketer.

Whistler

  • Commodity rate decrease of $1.028 per GJ for customers. The average residential customer using approximately 90 GJ per year will see a decrease of approximately $93 per year or a 6 per cent decrease.

Fort Nelson

  • Commodity rate decrease of $0.843 per GJ for customers. The average residential customer using approximately 140 GJ per year will see a decrease of approximately $118 per year or a 11.7 per cent decrease.

Revelstoke

  • Commodity rate decrease of $2.125 per GJ for customers. The average residential customer using approximately 50 GJ per year of piped propane will see a decrease of approximately $106 per year or a 8.4 per cent decrease.

Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Powell River

  • As part of a separate application currently before the BCUC, FortisBC has received interim approval from the BCUC, effective January 1, 2012, to hold rates at 2011 levels for most customers on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Powell River. This rate freeze keeps natural gas competitive with other energy sources used in this region.

Recently, FortisBC filed an application with the BC Utilities Commission to introduce common natural gas rates and program offerings across the province, which will be made possible by combining our three natural gas utilities into one. This application is at the regulatory stage and if approved, customers would pay the same rate for natural gas regardless of where they live.

FortisBC buys natural gas and propane on behalf of its customers and passes that price on without mark-up. Every three months, FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane commodity rates with the BCUC in order to make sure rates passed on to customers cover the cost of purchasing the gas on their behalf. Factors affecting the market price of natural gas and propane in North America include weather, supply and demand, and economic conditions. Propane prices are also influenced by global oil markets.

For more information on natural gas and propane rates by region, how commodity rates are set, and to learn more about FortisBC, visit www.fortisbc.com/rates.

To view natural gas prices over the last few years, visit www.fortisbc.com/costofgas.

FortisBC is an integrated energy solutions provider focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and alternative energy solutions, at the lowest reasonable cost. FortisBC employs more than 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 47,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com. 

For further information:

Media contact:

Neal Pobran
Corporate Communications Advisor
Phone: 250-469-8128
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