FortisBC announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC), making energy self-sufficiency for First Nations communities a priority. It is the first time a privately-held energy company has signed such an agreement.
“This is a first-of-its-kind agreement that will strengthen the relationship between FortisBC and B.C. First Nations,” said Doug Stout, vice president, energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC. “It gives us the opportunity to work with B.C. First Nations to optimize energy delivery to communities throughout the province, resulting in energy efficiency.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the FNEMC and FortisBC agree co-operate to develop energy opportunities for B.C. First Nations communities, including increasing energy efficiency on First Nation land and paving the way to hire a certified energy auditor to assist communities with energy efficiency programs. Approximately $100,000 annually will be earmarked to go toward conservation efforts.
“We are very excited to be working with FortisBC, since this is the first time B.C. First Nations have signed an agreement with a private energy company.” said Dave Porter, chief executive officer for First Nations Energy and the Mining Council. “This is an empowering agreement that will further the opportunities for First Nations in B.C.”
Major highlights of the agreement include:
- Open and honest communication throughout all aspects of working together
- Agreement that the consent of First Nations must be obtained before developing projects and activities affecting their communities
- Working with the Canadian and B.C. governments to develop policy and implement solutions affecting First Nations’ energy issues
- Helping the B.C. government meet its environmental and energy goals for the future
- Monitoring and evaluation energy program and policy effectiveness
- Undertaking First Nations community relations and communications programs in order to inform BC First Nation’s leadership of energy developments
FortisBC and FNEMC’s signing of the MOU was a natural next step for the two parties. Throughout its projects province-wide, FortisBC develops and builds mutually beneficial working relationships with BC First Nations communities, having previously developed a Statement of Principles for working building relationships with Aboriginal peoples.