Law needs to be updated in the interest of consumers - Costco Wholesale deplores the fact that gas will cost 3 cents more in Saint-Jérôme



    SAINT-JEROME, July 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Following a decision by Régie de
l'énergie on July 11, motorists in the region of Saint-Jérôme will be required
to pay an additional 3cents per liter of gas starting July 22 right through to
January 24, 2011. This decision, which Costco opposes, will force gas
retailers to add operating costs (3cents/liter) to the Régie's Minimum
Estimated Price (MEP).
    "This isn't a tax; it's a guaranteed income for all gas stations in
Saint-Jérôme," said Pierre Riel, Senior Vice President and General Manager of
Costco Wholesale for Eastern Canada.
    While he recognizes that this decision is within the limitations of the
current law, Mr. Riel feels that consumers are being penalized by legislation
that is no longer relevant to the current market. That is why he is asking the
Government of Quebec to update the Act.
    "The sale of gasoline should comply with the same criteria of free and
open competition as with other consumer products. Competitive companies must
provide customers with the best value for their money, period. In this case
however, gas prices will be artificially inflated by 3cents a liter so as to
include the theoretical operating costs set by the Régie de l'Energie. Costco
feels that consumers bear the brunt of this decision," said Mr. Riel.

    Every penny counts!

    Costco's senior executive added that "if the Government of Quebec really
cares about the gas prices Quebecers are faced with, it could very easily
impose a moratorium cancelling this 3 cents/liter surcharge in the
Saint-Jérôme market, and later in the fall, amend the regulations."

    Costco will donate the surcharge to the local hospital

    In the wake of this decision by Régie de l'énergie, Costco, too, will be
forced to charge its members an extra 3 cents per liter of gas sold. But as
the company objects to this decision, it will keep track of all earnings from
the surcharge and donate this amount to the Saint-Jérôme Regional Hospital.
"Since Costco feels that this money belongs to the people of the Saint-Jérôme
region, we will donate all proceeds to their regional hospital," added
Mr. Riel.

    Petitions with 307,000 signatures!

    Since 2003, Costco Wholesale has been pushing to have the regulations
changed by the Quebec government in order to open the door to healthy
competition in the gas market. Since then, Costco has, on two separate
occasions, asked its members to express their disagreement with a gas
surcharge designed to include retailer operating costs. Over 307,000 Quebec
consumers have signed petitions to this effect. "In the end, and after many
meetings with government officials, we firmly believed that the Government of
Quebec would re-write the legislation currently in place. The Régie's decision
now provides them with a unique opportunity to deliver the goods", concluded
Mr. Riel.

    About Costco Wholesale

    Price Club opened its first warehouse in Canada in 1986 in Ville       
St-Laurent. Today, the company boasts 75 locations in Canada, including 18 in
Quebec (12 in the Greater Montreal Area). The company offers gasoline at four
locations across the country, with two in British Columbia and two in Quebec.
Costco has nearly 15,000 employees in Canada, including over 3,000 in Quebec.




For further information:

For further information: Ron Damiani, Costco Wholesale, (613) 221-2004;
Martine Provençal, DIRECTION Strategic Communications, (514) 255-8564; Source:
Costco Wholesale

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COSTCO WHOLESALE CANADA LTD.

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