FortisBC receives approval to maintain most natural gas and propane commodity rates

SURREY, BC, Dec. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - FortisBC has received approval from the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) to maintain the natural gas and propane commodity rates it charges most customers, while midstream and delivery rates will change, effective January 1, 2013.

"While North American gas prices have increased from their lows earlier this year due to a slowdown in production growth and increased industrial and power generation demand, and propane prices have risen due to early cold weather in the eastern U.S. and Canada, FortisBC is able to avoid any commodity rate increases for our customers at this time," said Cynthia Des Brisay, vice president of energy supply and resource development. "Additionally, we are able to lower our midstream rate for customers due to lower storage and pipeline transportation costs. While customers may see a slight increase on their monthly bill, these changes are due to a change in delivery rate approved by the BCUC earlier this year."

Customers will see changes as follows on January 1, 2013:

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

  • Residential customers will see no change to the commodity rate and a decrease to the midstream rate of between $0.173 to $0.208 per gigajoule (GJ). As part of the 2012-2013 revenue requirement application filed last year, FortisBC received approval to increase its delivery rate by $0.316 per GJ for customers in these regions. The combined rate change means an increase of $ 0.143 per GJ, or approximately $14 per year for an average residential customer in the Lower Mainland using approximately 95 GJ.

  • Customer Choice program participants can also expect to see the above changes to the delivery and midstream rates on their bills.

Whistler

  • Residential customers will see their commodity rate, which includes the midstream rate, increase by $0.212 per GJ. As part of the 2012-2013 revenue requirement application filed last year, FortisBC received approval from the BCUC to increase its delivery rate by $0.583 per GJ for Whistler customers. The average residential customer using 90 GJ per year will see an increase of approximately $72 per year. 

Fort Nelson

  • Residential customers using approximately 140 GJ of natural gas per year will see an increase of approximately $29. This is based on no change to the commodity component of rates, which includes the midstream rate, and from the approved increase to delivery rates for this region.

Revelstoke

  • Residential customers receiving piped propane will see no increase in the commodity rate of propane. The average residential customer using approximately 50 GJ of propane per year will see an increase of approximately $16 due to the approved delivery rate changes.

Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast and Powell River

  • Rates will remain unchanged from current levels for most customers, including residential, on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Powell River effective January 1, 2013.

FortisBC buys natural gas and propane on behalf of its customers and passes that price on without mark-up. 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. Midstream rates, also passed on to customers without mark-up, cover the storage and transportation of natural gas delivered to customers. Factors affecting the market price of natural gas in North America include weather, supply and demand, and economic conditions. Propane prices are closely linked to global oil markets.

As part of the 2012-2013 revenue requirement application filed last year, FortisBC received approval for delivery rate adjustments. 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.

For more information on natural gas and propane rates by region, how commodity rates are set, and to learn more about FortisBC, visit www.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 2,300 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. 

SOURCE: FortisBC

For further information:

MEDIA CONTACT:
Michael Allison
Corporate Communications Advisor
FortisBC
Phone: 604-592-7536
Email: michael.allison@fortisbc.com
fortisbc.com
twitter.com/fortisBC
youtube.com/fortisBC


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