Increased supply of natural gas and stable delivery rates continue to
SURREY, BC, Dec. 2, 2013 /CNW/ - FortisBC has received approval from the
BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to modify natural gas and propane rates.
Beginning January 1, 2014 customers will see varying changes to their
bill depending on where they live.
"Recent advances in production technology have resulted in significant
increases in North American natural gas supply, which has kept the
overall trend for commodity rates positive," said Cynthia Des Brisay,
vice president, energy supply and resource development at FortisBC.
"Energy bills for the average customer in the Lower Mainland have
dropped by 25 per cent compared to five years ago, due to a lower cost
Every three months, FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane commodity
rates with the BCUC 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.
Also, in this announcement the BCUC has set FortisBC's delivery and
midstream rates, which are generally set once a year. The delivery
portion of rates is what FortisBC charges to deliver natural gas and
propane service to customers. It enables the company to recover its
costs and make investments in its business that will benefit the
evolving needs of customers and communities served. Midstream rates
include charges FortisBC pays to other companies to store and transport
"FortisBC continues to strive to balance customer rate impacts and
ensure our continued ability to provide safe and reliable natural gas
service to our customers," said Des Brisay.
Below are the specific changes for each region, effective January 1,
2014. The rate structures in the various regions can contribute to
differences in commodity and midstream rates.
Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North and the Kootenays
Residential customers will see no change to the commodity rate and an
increase to the midstream rate of between $0.040 and $0.111 per
gigajoule (GJ) depending on their region. As part of the 2014 - 2018
delivery rate proposal filed earlier this year, FortisBC received
approval to increase its delivery rate on an interim basis by $0.224
per GJ for customers in these regions. The combined rate change means
an increase of $0.335 per GJ, or approximately $32 per year for an
average residential customer in the Lower Mainland using approximately
Customer Choice program participants can also expect to see the above
changes to the delivery and midstream rates on their bills.
Residential customers will see their commodity rate, which includes the
midstream rate, increase by $0.179 per GJ. As part of the 2014 rate
application filed earlier this year, the delivery rate for Whistler
customers will increase by $0.335 per GJ. The average residential
customer using 90 GJ per year will see an increase of approximately $46
Residential customers using approximately 140 GJ of natural gas per year
will see a decrease of approximately $108 or 12 per cent.
Cold weather has caused an increase in propane demand and as a result,
raised the price of propane. Residential customers receiving piped
propane will see their commodity rate increase by $1.321 per GJ. This
change in commodity rate, in addition to the approved delivery rate
changes, results in an increase of approximately $77 for the average
residential customer using approximately 50 GJ of propane per year.
Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Powell River
As part of the 2014 revenue requirements application, FortisBC received
approval from the BCUC to leave rates unchanged on an interim basis.
Rates and rate structures vary across our service areas. However, we
have applied to the BCUC to move to one common rate structure across
the province. For more information about FortisBC and rates, visit www.fortisbc.com/rates. 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. Those
curious about how their energy use may be affecting their natural gas
bill can use the FortisBC energy calculator at fortisbc.com/energycalculator.
FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable
energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy
solutions. 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.
Background on natural gas rates
Advances in technology have increased natural gas supply in British
Columbia, and as a result, the commodity's price has dropped over the
past five years. Through that time, delivery and midstream rates have
remained stable causing the combined cost of natural gas to decrease.
Image with caption: "The above chart shows the rate history of an average FortisBC residential customer in the Lower Mainland, since January 1, 2008 (CNW Group/FortisBC)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131202_C6984_PHOTO_EN_34234.jpg
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