SURREY, BC, Nov. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - FortisBC has received approval from the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to modify natural gas and propane rates. Beginning January 1, 2015 customers will see changes to their bill.
This date also marks the introduction of a three-year phased-in approach to a common natural gas rate across the province, meaning a majority of customers will pay the same for natural gas no matter where they live.
"This is an exciting development for FortisBC," said Roger Dall'Antonia, Executive Vice-President, Customer Service and Regulatory Affairs at FortisBC. "For the first time, a majority of our customers will be moving to the same rate for natural gas. This will bring rate consistency and fairness to our customers."
The BCUC has approved a natural gas commodity rate of $3.781/GJ for all customers in B.C. with the exception of Fort Nelson.
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 transport natural gas. Starting January 1, 2015, this will be referred to as "storage and transport" on customers' bills, instead of "midstream".
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.
Below are the rate changes for each region including moving to common delivery, commodity, and storage and transport rates. Rates will be effective January 1, 2015.
Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North and the Kootenays
- Customers will see a decrease of $0.094 per gigajoule (GJ) to their delivery rates and a slight increase to storage and transport of $0.031 per GJ. For the average residential customer using 90 GJ of natural gas per year, this works out to a decrease of approximately $6 per year or a decrease of 1 per cent. There is no change to the commodity rate, which will remain at $3.781 per GJ.
- Moving to a common rate means customers in Whistler will see a decrease of approximately $3.150 per GJ to their delivery rates and a $0.220 increase per GJ to their storage and transport rate. For the average residential customer using 90 GJ of natural gas per year, this works to a decrease of approximately $212 per year, or a decrease of 13 per cent. There is no change to the commodity rate, which will remain at $3.781 per GJ.
Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Powell River
- Moving to a common rate means customers on Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Powell River will see a decrease of approximately 8 per cent per year to their delivery rates and a decrease of approximately 5 per cent per year to their commodity, storage and transport rates. For the average residential customer using 45 GJ of natural gas per year, this works to a decrease of approximately $98 per year or 13 per cent. The commodity rate has been set at $3.781 per GJ.
- Customers receiving piped propane will see a decrease to their delivery rates of $0.094 per GJ and a decrease to their commodity rate of $2.977 GJ. For the average residential customer using 50 GJ of propane per year, this works to a decrease of approximately $154 per year or 12 per cent.
- Fort Nelson has been excluded from moving to a common rate; therefore, FortisBC is required to file for separate approval of rates with the BCUC for this service area. As part of this process, FortisBC will be requesting interim delivery rates be put in place for January 1, 2015. FortisBC expects a decision from the BCUC on the request for interim delivery rates in December 2014. There is no change to the commodity rate for Fort Nelson customers, which will remain at $4.259 per GJ.
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 or to learn more about FortisBC's natural gas rates, visit fortisbc.com/rates.
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.
For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Neal Pobran, Manager, Corporate Communications, FortisBC, Phone: 250-469-8128, fortisbc.com, twitter.com/fortisBC, youtube.com/fortisBC