FortisBC customers to see decreases to natural gas rates and no change to electricity rates on January 1
SURREY, BC, Dec. 13, 2017 /CNW/ - When most costs are rising in the New Year, natural gas and electricity bills will not; in fact, natural gas rates are decreasing. FortisBC delivers energy at the lowest reasonable rate, and on January 1, customers will receive just that. For natural gas customers across the province rates will decrease, and for electricity customers in the southern interior, rates will remain the same. The cost of natural gas will be at one of the lowest levels in the past decade.
"This is welcome news for all of our customers," said Diane Roy, vice-president of regulatory affairs, FortisBC. "We are working hard to keep rates as low as possible and this is a reflection of that work as well as favourable natural gas market conditions."
FortisBC is a utility regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) and all rate changes have been approved by the BCUC.
2018 marks the first year where customers will see common natural gas rates across the province, following a three-year phase in that was completed in 2017. This will result in customers paying the same for natural gas regardless of where they live in B.C. (excluding Fort Nelson).
As of January 1, the majority of customers will see an overall decrease to their natural gas bill.
Below is the breakdown of residential changes for each region. Rates will be effective January 1, 2018.
- Residential customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North and the Kootenays will see an approximate overall annual decrease of six per cent or $45.
- Residential customers on Vancouver Island will see a substantial overall annual decrease of approximately 15 per cent or $85.
- Residential customers in Whistler will see a substantial overall annual decrease of approximately 23 per cent or $245.
- Residential customers in Fort Nelson will see an approximate annual decrease of two per cent or $20
"Natural gas is a key part of the B.C. economy and the majority of gas we use in our homes and businesses as well as in the transportation industry is from right here in B.C.," added Roy. "At these rates, natural gas offers not only cost savings, but also convenience and comfort year-round."
The BCUC also approved FortisBC's request to keep the 2017 electric rates in effect as interim rates until a decision on permanent 2018 rates is approved, which means customers will see no change to their electricity rates January 1.
FortisBC has applied to the BCUC for a rate increase of 0.17 per cent for 2018 and this amount is now under regulatory review.
"This year's low rate increase reflects FortisBC's success in reducing costs in its operations while also making necessary system improvements and long-term investments," said Roy.
Since 2014, electric rate increases have trended downward and FortisBC has provided a total of $4.6 million in savings to customers through lower rates. As of this year, the costs of past projects and investments have now been fully absorbed into rates. Since purchasing the utility in 2004, FortisBC has made more than $1 billion in investments to maintain and upgrade the electrical infrastructure as well as secure long-term electricity purchase agreements to meet customer growth and demand. FortisBC continues to make necessary investment in the system and this could impact rates in future years. As a result of this investment, electricity customers have a more reliable system, better customer service and secure, long term power.
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 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,200 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 48,700 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. do business as FortisBC. FortisBC is indirectly, wholly owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business. Additional information can be accessed at fortisinc.com or sedar.com.
For further information: about natural gas rates, visit fortisbc.com/gasrates; For information about electricity rates, visit fortisbc.com/electricrates; MEDIA INQUIRES: 24-hour media line: 1-855-322-6397