How to read your natural gas bill
We want to make sure your natural gas or propane bill is clear and makes sense to you. Since there’s more to your bill than the amount due, we’ve created a sample bill below that explains the different items that could appear on your residential or commercial bill.
Signed up for paperless billing? It’s a good idea to check your spam or junk email folder once in while to ensure important emails, like your bill, doesn’t get missed.
1. Amount/payment due/amount to be withdrawn
This is the balance outstanding on your account from your last bill plus new charges. If the balance shown is a credit, you’ll also see a "Do not pay" alert on your bill.
2. Your account
This section includes your account number, the name your account is in and the address where you are receiving gas service.
3. Billing dates
- Billing due date is the date your next payment is due.
- Billing period is the period of time in which charges are billed to your account.
- Billing date is the date your bill was issued. Transactions after this date will appear on your next bill.
4. Our contact information
We’re here to help. If you have questions about your bill, call us at 1-888-224-2710, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., or visit fortisbc.com.
5. Your natural gas usage
This graph shows you at a glance if you’ve used more or less energy than usual. It shows how many gigajoules (GJs) of gas you’ve used over the billing period and compares it to what you used during the last billing period and the same time the last year. Knowing if you’ve used less, more or the same amount of gas as other time periods can help you track your energy usage and make choices that could help lower your energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and save on your monthly bills.
What’s a gigajoule? A gigajoule, or GJ, is a measure of energy used to measure your gas consumption. One GJ is roughly the amount of energy needed to heat a typical house for one day.1 You pay for the gas you consume, measured in gigajoules.
6. Energy-saving tips/rebate offers
On every bill you’ll see either a set of energy-savings tips or information about our rebates on high-efficiency heating equipment and products. This information could help you lower your energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and save money on your energy bills.
7. Payment return slip
This slip lists your account number, your GST number, bill due date and total amount due. If you receive a paper bill and either mail your payment or pay in person at your financial institution, please include the return slip.
8. Your meter reading
This lists your meter number and how much gas you’ve used over the billing period. It shows your current meter reading and subtracts your previous meter reading. The volume is multiplied by a conversion factor that accounts for your location’s standard conditions of temperature and pressure to give your gas usage in gigajoules.
Estimated or pro-rated bills
Occasionally, we’re unable to secure a reading on the scheduled date. If this happens, we will estimate your bill based on your past energy use. The next actual meter reading will adjust for any over or underestimate.
If the period between your meter readings is shorter or longer than usual (as is often the case when you connect a new service or disconnect your service) your bill will be pro-rated. Charges will be adjusted to reflect the length of the service period.
9a. Your last bill
- Last bill is the amount that was due on your last bill.
- Payment received is the last payment amount we received from you.
- Balance from last bill shows the amount owing, if any, from your previous bill and any payments or adjustments since we issued your last bill.
9b. Basic charge/delivery charge
- Basic charge is a flat daily fee that partially recovers the fixed costs of our system because you are connected to it, whether you’re using gas or not.
- Delivery charge is based on consumption and is the cost of delivering gas through our system to your home or business.
Together, the basic and delivery charges help cover the costs of maintaining the natural gas system. This is also where we make a modest profit and where we invest in our business and improvements to meet your energy needs. These charges are reviewed by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) annually.
9c. Storage & transport/cost of gas
- Storage & transport is what we pay to other companies to store and transport gas through their pipelines and infrastructure. These costs are reviewed by the BCUC annually.
- Cost of gas is the market price of natural gas itself. We review the cost of natural gas every three months with the BCUC. Learn more about how we determine the cost of gas.
Both the storage & transport and cost of gas charges are commodity charges that reflect the costs of buying and transporting gas or propane. We don’t markup these costs—you pay what we pay. Natural gas is a commodity traded on the open market like oil, coffee or lumber. As with most commodities, the price is dictated by supply and demand. When demand is high, the price rises. When supply is high, the price drops.
9d. Other charges & taxes
Other charges and taxes you may see on your bill are set by various levels of government. We collect them on their behalf and don’t gain any revenue from these taxes and fees, which include:
- BC carbon tax for homeowners. We collect the carbon tax on behalf of the provincial government. If you have questions about the tax rate charged, or if you want to learn more about BC’s carbon tax, visit their website.
- BC Clean energy levy, or the Innovative Clean Energy Fund levy, was introduced by the provincial government to support investment in clean energy technology. The levy is 0.4 per cent of the purchase price on residential and commercial energy purchases of natural gas and propane. The levy does not apply to residential and commercial purchases of electricity.
- GST (Goods and Service Tax) or PST (Provincial Sales Tax). We collect GST on behalf of the federal government and PST on behalf of the provincial government.
Have questions about GST or PST?
- For small businesses and stratas: 1-888-224-2710, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- For large commercial and industrial: 1-855-873-8773, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: in certain cases, some customers may see a different fees and charges on their bill including:
10. Gas facts
Every bill you’ll see an interesting gas fact that will help you understand what a gigajoule of natural gas is equivalent to – like heating enough water for 95 hot showers.2 You’ll also get a corresponding tip to help you reduce your energy use.
11. News to know
On most bills you’ll get some news from us that we hope you’ll find valuable. It could be information about a new rebate or a reminder about how to stay safe around our energy infrastructure.
12. Ways to pay your bill
Find out about the different ways to pay your bill including by credit card, cheque or through your financial institution.
Missing a bill payment?
Here’s some information to keep in mind:
- Overdue account - if your account is overdue and payment outstanding, you will incur a 1.5 per cent per month late payment charge (19.56 per cent per annum).
- Disconnection of service - to avoid disconnection of service, you must pay the overdue balance immediately, and pay your current charges by the due date shown. If you’ve recently paid this overdue amount, let us know immediately.
If your overdue amount remains unpaid and your service is disconnected, you must pay the total amount due, a security deposit and a reactivation charge to reconnect your service.
We’re here to help
If you’re having trouble with payments, give us a call and we’ll work with you to find a solution that may include payment arrangements.
- Homes and small businesses: 1-888-224-2710, Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Large commercial and industrial: 1-855-873-8773, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1One gigajoule of gas can heat a typical 2,000 sq. home for one day with a 120,000 BTU furnace running eight hours.
2One gigajoule of gas can heat enough water for 95 hot showers based on a 5-minute shower using a 9.5 litres per minute showerhead.