February 8, 2017
We often get asked questions about bills. Specifically, what do all the different charges mean and how are they determined? We would like to clarify a few of the charges that you see on your bills.
The charges on your bill cover the cost of buying natural gas from suppliers, we then deliver the natural gas through our system to your home or business. Other fees are collected on behalf of other organizations, such as taxes levied by the federal and provincial government, and municipalities.
Our natural gas customers are enjoying the lowest prices in more than a decade, making the cost of gas charge appear quite low in comparison to the other charges you see on their bill. You pay what we pay. FortisBC acquires natural gas and propane at market-based prices. Factors like weather, supply and demand and economic conditions affect the market price of natural gas and propane in North America.
In addition to the cost of natural gas, bills also show what is called the storage and transport charge that reflects the prices we pay to other companies to store and transport gas through their pipelines and infrastructure to our system.
The delivery charge reflects the costs of safely and reliably delivering gas to customers through our distribution system. It enables us to recover operating costs and make investments in our business that will benefit the evolving needs of customers and their communities.
The basic charge is a flat daily fee that partially recovers the fixed costs of our system as long as a customer is connected to it.
In addition to those charges, there are other items on the bill that we collect on behalf of all three levels of government. This includes GST for the federal government, the carbon tax for the provincial government and the clean energy levy, which goes toward supporting investment by the provincial government in clean energy technology.
FortisBC is regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). This means that the line items you see on your bill were approved through transparent, public proceedings. Information about these proceedings is available online at www.bcuc.com.
The BCUC approves the overall revenue we collect from our customers to cover the cost of providing service. Every three months, FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane rates with the BCUC to make sure rates passed on to customers cover the cost of purchasing the gas on their behalf.
To help customers better understand their bills we have some sample bills that show the different charges explained above. Check out your area.
Check out our video on how natural gas rates are set.
If you would like to speak to someone in person about your natural gas bill, you can call us toll free at 1-888-224-2710, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. or visit us online at fortisbc.com.