Proposed renewed operating agreement with the City of Surrey
Jul 25, 2017
As a Surrey resident and FortisBC natural gas customer, you would have recently received a letter in the mail regarding an application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) by FortisBC and the City of Surrey for a new operating agreement regarding the natural gas system in the City of Surrey.
What is the benefit to Surrey customers
The City of Surrey is a rapidly growing municipality and its unique circumstances, such as infrastructure development, gas lines that intersect with roads and frequent relocation of gas lines, warrants a new operating agreement and the establishment of an operating fee. The current agreement is now 60 years old.
Through the proposed operating agreement with the City of Surrey, FortisBC’s customers would benefit from more efficient and cost-effective local service.
This means reduced time for new customers to receive gas service, improved reliability to meet service scheduling for new customers as well as streamlined and efficient operating practices between FortisBC and the City of Surrey. It would also allow FortisBC to serve customers in a more responsive and cost-effective manner and keep downward pressure on operating costs and gas rates - a savings that would be passed on to customers.
What is being proposed
A modernized and up-to-date operating agreement and operating fee. If approved by the BCUC, the operating fee will be collected from customers as an additional charge on their monthly natural gas bill and then be remitted annually to the City of Surrey. FortisBC would not receive the extra income.
We are suggesting that the operating fee for the City of Surrey should be lower than the operating fees historically in place in agreements with the Interior and Vancouver Island municipalities dating back to the initial installation of natural gas in those regions.
What are operating fees
Operating fees are fees collected on customers’ monthly bills. FortisBC remits the fees to the municipality once per year in accordance with operating agreement terms.
The BCUC must first approve if an operating fee is to be collected, and then determine the amount and calculation for such a fee before it is charged on the customer’s bill. The operating fee would apply to residential as well as commercial and industrial customers.
Operating fees do not result in any additional revenue for FortisBC.
Where does the money go
The operating fees are collected to help municipalities cover the costs related to natural gas infrastructure in their communities. Costs include permits, inspections, gas relocation costs for municipal projects and maintenance due to wear and tear on municipal infrastructure.
We recommend that customers contact the City of Surrey for details on how the revenue from an operating fee, if approved, will be spent.
City of Surrey contacts:
How you can participate
FortisBC is regulated by the BCUC, an independent regulatory agency of the Provincial Government. The BCUC has directed FortisBC to advise our customers in the City of Surrey of the applications filed by both FortisBC and the City of Surrey and of the public review process that is taking place to make a final decision on the outstanding terms.
If you wish to participate in the proceedings you can submit a letter of comment, register as an interested party or request intervener status. This can all be done online, through the BCUC’s website.