Most natural gas customers to see commodity rate decrease

Programs available to help customers further reduce their energy bills as heating season begins

SURREY, BC, Sept. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - FortisBC has received approval from the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to decrease natural gas commodity rates for most customers starting October 1. The rate for piped propane customers living in Revelstoke will remain the same.

"North American gas market prices have gone down recently. Strong gas production and lower demand due to cooler summer weather have allowed gas storage inventory levels to recover prior to the upcoming winter season," said Cynthia Des Brisay, vice-president of energy supply and resource development.

"The result has been lower commodity rates for most of our gas customers; however, as heating season fast approaches, we encourage customers to take advantage of energy-saving tools to reduce their energy use."

Customers will see the following changes to their natural gas bills effective October 1, 2014:

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

  • The commodity rate for customers will decrease by $0.859 per gigajoule (GJ). This is equivalent to a decrease of approximately $82 per year for an average residential customer in the Lower Mainland using approximately 95 GJ per year.
  • Customer Choice program participants will not be affected by changes to the commodity rate.

Whistler

  • The commodity rate for customers will decrease by $0.859 per GJ. This is equivalent to a decrease of approximately $77 per year for an average residential customer in Whistler using approximately 90 GJ per year.

Fort Nelson

  • The commodity rate for customers will decrease by $0.516 per GJ. This is equivalent to a decrease of approximately $72 per year for an average residential customer in Ft. Nelson using approximately 140 GJ per year.

Revelstoke

  • Rates will remain unchanged from current levels for customers, including residential, receiving piped propane.

Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Powell River

  • Rates will remain unchanged from current levels for customers, including residential, on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Powell River.

For more information about FortisBC and rates, watch our rates video on fortisbc.com

FortisBC is committed to helping customers conserve energy and get the most out of their energy dollar by providing both financial incentives and advice on energy-efficient technologies and practices.

One such incentive is the recently launched Home Energy Rebate Offer. With this offer, FortisBC and BC Hydro have teamed up to provide up to $6,000 worth of rebates for energy-efficient upgrades, helping customers reduce ongoing energy costs.

Those curious about how their energy use may be affecting their natural gas bill can use the FortisBC home energy calculator at fortisbc.com/energycalculator.

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.

Last year, FortisBC filed a multi-year proposal for gas delivery rates and this decision is expected shortly from the BC Utilities Commission.

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, and propane. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 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.

Backgrounder on natural gas commodity rates

Natural gas is traded in the North American marketplace as a commodity like oil, gold or lumber. Our commodity rates are reviewed every three months by the BCUC to ensure the rates we are charging appropriately cover the cost of natural gas we purchase on behalf of our customers.

  • Weather, Gulf of Mexico hurricanes, natural gas competitiveness with other forms of energy such as coal, economic conditions and other supply and demand factors influence the price of natural gas.
  • FortisBC does not profit from natural gas commodity charges; customers pay what FortisBC pays for the gas.
  • Rates are reviewed each quarter based on a forecast of what our costs to purchase gas will be over the following 12 months, based on forward prices set by the market.

 

SOURCE: FortisBC

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Grace Pickell, Corporate Communications Advisor, FortisBC, Phone: 604-328-2544, fortisbc.com, twitter.com/fortisBC, youtube.com/fortisBC

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