Terasen Gas applies to adjust natural gas rates in most of B.C.



    
    Customers will benefit from lowest commodity rates in more than
    five years
    

    SURREY, BC, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - Terasen Gas has now filed applications with
the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to reduce its natural gas
commodity rates in most areas of the province. If approved, the new rates will
take effect October 1, 2009.
    "Market changes have allowed us to apply for adjustments to our natural
gas commodity rates for most of our customers. The proposed rates are the
lowest in more than five years and we are pleased to file this application
prior to the upcoming winter heating season," said Cynthia Des Brisay, Vice
President of Gas Supply and Transmission, Terasen Gas. "Current market
conditions include low demand due to the economic downturn and cooler than
normal summer weather in most of North America. At the same time, new shale
gas developments are maintaining production levels. This has resulted in
higher than usual storage levels for this time of the year and downward
pressure on natural gas prices."
    Natural gas is an openly traded commodity, with prices subject to market
conditions, supply and demand, and weather. Terasen Gas purchases natural gas
on behalf of its customers and passes that cost on without mark-up. Every
three months, Terasen Gas reviews commodity prices with the BCUC in order to
ensure the flow-through rates customers are charged cover the cost of
purchasing the gas.
    For customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North and
the Kootenays, Terasen Gas is asking for a commodity rate decrease of $1.01
per gigajoule (GJ). If the application is approved, a typical residential
customer in these regions will see their total annual gas bill decrease by
about nine per cent, or approximately $76 to $96 per year, depending on
consumption levels.
    If approved, the cost of gas decrease to $4.95 per GJ will not affect the
commodity rate for customers participating in the Customer Choice program.
    In the Fort Nelson area, total annual gas bills for residential customers
will decrease by about eight per cent, or $98 per year based on consumption of
140 GJ per year, if the application is approved.
    The adjustments, if approved, will not affect customers on Vancouver
Island, the Sunshine Coast, and in Powell River. These regions are covered by
a separate, longer-term regulatory structure that provides a level of
insulation from fluctuations in the commodities market.
    The application also requests that propane rates for customers in
Revelstoke remain unchanged. Propane prices are more closely linked to global
oil markets, however, and oil prices have continued to be strong in the last
quarter. Terasen Gas purchases propane on behalf of its customers and passes
that cost on without mark-up.
    If approved, commodity rates in Whistler will also remain unchanged. The
BCUC approved a rate decrease effective July 1, 2009, reflecting the
conversion of the Resort Municipality of Whistler from propane to natural gas.
The conversion of more than 14,000 appliances to natural gas will enable
Whistler residents to enjoy one of the cleanest burning, most efficient fuels
available today.
    "While we are applying to adjust rates in most of our service areas, we
encourage our customers to continue using energy wisely to help keep their
costs down and benefit the environment," said Des Brisay. "Our expanded energy
efficiency and conservation programs will provide customers with enhanced
tools and incentives to manage their natural gas consumption, reduce their
energy costs and lower their greenhouse gas emissions."
    Terasen Gas uses several tactics and strategies to ensure a reliable
supply of natural gas at a reasonable price for its customers including:
    
    -   purchasing gas from a variety of sources;
    -   locking in the price of gas through the use of futures contracts, and
    -   purchasing a portion of the supply from the spot market.
    

    The cost of the natural gas or propane commodity accounts for the
majority of the typical residential bill, while delivery charges account for
the remaining portion. Delivery charges are the costs associated to safely and
reliably bring natural gas or propane to a home or business. Terasen Gas Inc.
and Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc. each filed applications in June, and
are awaiting a BCUC decision for the determination of delivery rates that
would come into effect January 2010.

    Terasen Gas is mainly composed of the operations of Terasen Gas Inc. and
Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries
of Fortis Inc. Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in
Canada, serves more than two million gas and electric customers and has total
assets approaching $12 billion. Its regulated holdings include Terasen Gas and
electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and three Caribbean countries.
Fortis Inc. owns non-regulated hydroelectric generation assets across Canada
and in Belize and upper New York State. It also owns hotels and commercial
real estate in Canada. 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:

For further information: Media Contact: Kirsten Walker, Communications
Specialist, Terasen Gas Inc., Phone: (604) 592-7507, Email:
kirsten.walker@terasengas.com

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