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Frequently asked questions

Common

What is Customer Choice?

Customer Choice is a program that lets you choose who supplies your natural gas. You can choose FortisBC’s variable rate or sign a fixed-term, fixed-rate contract with a gas marketer. The choice is similar to a homeowner locking into a mortgage at a fixed interest rate rather than a variable rate.​

Where is Customer Choice available?

Customer Choice is currently available to residential and small commercial customers in the Interior, the Lower Mainland, Whistler, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Powell River. Customer Choice is not available in Revelstoke or Fort Nelson.

What do I need to do if I move to a new home?

You have a responsibility to contact your gas marketer and advise them of your move, as a Consumer Agreement is a legally binding contract and there may be penalties associated with cancelling before the end date. Each gas marketer has different terms and conditions, so please review the details of your Consumer Agreement.

Note: Customer Choice is not available to residents of Revelstoke or Fort Nelson. Please contact us at 1-888-224-2710, to let us know your move details.​

Am I still eligible for program offerings from FortisBC if I’ve signed with a gas marketer?

​Customer Choice customers may be ineligible for some program offerings from FortisBC. For example, Customer Choice customers cannot be concurrently enrolled in FortisBC's renewable natural gas program. If a customer has previously enrolled in a program for which Customer Choice customers are ineligible, their Customer Choice contract will take precedence and they will automatically be removed from the other program.

Consumer agreements

Do I have to sign an agreement if I decide to buy from a gas marketer?

​If you choose to buy natural gas from a gas marketer, they will provide you with two documents to sign in order to participate in Customer Choice:

  1. Notice of Appointment of Marketer
  2. Consumer Agreement.

More details

Can I cancel the agreement?

​The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has mandated a 10-day cancellation period during which you can cancel your agreement without penalty if you decide Customer Choice is not for you.

Customers will receive a confirmation letter from FortisBC after signing an agreement with a gas marketer. This letter confirms that you have entered into a supply arrangement with a marketer and gives you a date by which you must respond to your chosen marketer if you wish to opt-out of the agreement without penalty.

Commercial customers have the option to waive their right to a cancellation period.

More details

What cancellation options do I have after the 10-day cancellation period?

​The Consumer Agreement you sign is a legal contract with a specific duration that you are bound to, similar to a cell phone plan contract. If you wish to cancel after the 10-day cancellation period, you should begin by contacting your gas marketer or checking your Consumer Agreement to confirm how to terminate your contract. Cancellation charges may apply.

FortisBC cannot cancel or amend a contract on your behalf. You should contact your gas marketer at least 90 days before the 12 month anniversary date if you wish to terminate your contract. This is because FortisBC requires notification from the marketer at least 30 days prior to the anniversary date. While the contract penalties and stipulations vary among gas marketers, FortisBC does not charge a fee for returning to the variable rate.

What should I do if I have a concern regarding my agreement with a gas marketer?

​Since the gas marketer is independent of FortisBC, if you have a concern or problem you should first attempt to resolve it by contacting your gas marketer directly.

If you are unable to come to a resolution with your gas marketer, you can log a contract dispute with the BCUC through FortisBC. There are two ways to do this:

  1. log a dispute online
  2. log a dispute with the assistance of a FortisBC customer service representative by calling 1-888-224-2710, Option 2.

Please note, FortisBC is not a party to the dispute with your gas marketer. FortisBC will ensure your dispute record is complete and will forward it to the BCUC for review, investigation and resolution.

The BCUC will investigate complaints about the business practices of gas marketers as outlined in the Rules for Gas Marketers and in the Code of Conduct for Gas Marketers, both of which can be reviewed on the BCUC website under Commission Orders. For more information, review the complaint and dispute process on the BCUC website.

More details

FortisBC vs. gas marketers

​Why can’t FortisBC offer the same rates as gas marketers?

Natural gas marketers are free to offer different prices and terms to each customer in gas-supply agreements ranging from one to five years.

FortisBC is fully regulated by the BCUC and this includes being required to offer the same price to all customers in the same rate class.

More details

Does FortisBC sell natural gas door-to-door?

​FortisBC does not sell natural gas door-to-door. If you’re a natural gas customer, a FortisBC employee may visit your home, often by appointment, to re-light appliances after a natural gas outage, to conduct a meter exchange or to conduct a leak survey or corrosion test on the meter and natural gas piping outside your home.

If you aren’t a natural gas customer, a FortisBC employee may occasionally visit your home to create awareness of our natural gas products and services.

Independent gas marketers are licensed by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to sell fixed rate natural gas contracts and are not employed by FortisBC. They’re required by the BCUC to clearly identify which company they represent and present proof of licensing and identification upon request.

How do I return to FortisBC after my contract expires?

​You do not need to contact your gas marketer if you want to return to FortisBC at the end of your contract. You will be automatically returned to FortisBC when your contract expires.

How does FortisBC make money selling natural gas?

​There is no mark-up on the price of natural gas purchased through FortisBC. You pay what we pay. We make money on the distribution of natural gas. This delivery charge is charged to all consumers whether they stay with FortisBC’s variable rate or sign a fixed-term, fixed-rate contract with a gas marketer.

Gas marketers

How does a gas marketer operate?

​All gas marketers participating in the Customer Choice program must be qualified, approved and licensed by the British Columbia Utilities Commission and must adhere to the BCUC's Code of Conduct for Gas Marketers.

How does a gas marketer make money on the commodity?

​Gas marketers are separate businesses licensed by the BCUC to sell fixed-term, fixed-rate contracts to residential rate 1 and commercial rate 2 and 3 customers. With a fixed rate, the price you pay for natural gas remains the same for the duration of the contract. Marketers earn a profit by including a mark-up in the commodity price.

List of gas marketers

How do I sign up with a gas marketer?

​You can contact a marketer by telephone or in writing to sign up for service. You may also be contacted by a marketer directly.

More information about licensed marketers in BC can be found on our website and the BC Utilities Commission website.

Will the gas marketer send me a separate bill?

​No. Billing will still be done by FortisBC. Your bill will now separately list FortisBC’s delivery charges, the Storage and transport charges and the gas marketer’s commodity charge. The marketer’s name, telephone number and the contract term will be clearly indicated on the bill under the commodity charge.

You will continue to make your payments to FortisBC and can still take advantage of our various payment options including the Equal Payment Plan and Pre-authorized Payment Plan.

Gas supply

How does a gas marketer supply natural gas to my home?

​The gas marketer secures the natural gas from many of the same supply sources as FortisBC and then arranges for FortisBC to supply the gas to your home. There is no interruption of service if you decide to contract with a gas marketer.

How do I know my gas supply is guaranteed?

​There will be no interruption to your gas supply under this program. Gas marketers are legally obligated to meet the daily gas delivery requirements as set out by FortisBC. Should a marketer fail to meet its gas delivery requirements, FortisBC will step in as the “supplier of last resort” and fulfill its obligation to ensure customers continue to receive an uninterrupted supply of gas.

Understanding your options 

Find out everything you need to know about Customer Choice with this comprehensive information booklet.