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FortisBC delivers no rate increases for the new year
Dec 13, 2017
FortisBC customers to see decreases to natural gas rates and no change to electricity rates on Jan 1
When most costs are rising in the New Year, natural gas and electricity bills will not; in fact, natural gas rates are decreasing. FortisBC delivers energy at the lowest reasonable rate, and on January 1, customers will receive just that. For natural gas customers across the province rates will decrease, and for electricity customers in the southern interior, rates will remain the same. The cost of natural gas will be at one of the lowest levels in the past decade.
“This is welcome news for all of our customers,” said Diane Roy, vice-president of regulatory affairs, FortisBC. “We are working hard to keep rates as low as possible and this is a reflection of that work as well as favourable natural gas market conditions.”
FortisBC is a utility regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) and all rate changes have been approved by the BCUC.
2018 marks the first year where customers will see common natural gas rates across the province, following a three-year phase in that was completed in 2017. This will result in customers paying the same for natural gas regardless of where they live in B.C. (excluding Fort Nelson).
As of January 1, the majority of customers will see an overall decrease to their natural gas bill.
Below is the breakdown of residential changes for each region. Rates will be effective January 1, 2018.
- Residential customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North and the Kootenays will see an approximate overall annual decrease of six per cent or $45.
- Residential customers on Vancouver Island will see a substantial overall annual decrease of approximately 15 per cent or $85.
- Residential customers in Whistler will see a substantial overall annual decrease of approximately 23 per cent or $245.
- Residential customers in Fort Nelson will see an approximate annual decrease of two per cent or $20
“Natural gas is a key part of the B.C. economy and the majority of gas we use in our homes and businesses as well as in the transportation industry is from right here in B.C.,” added Roy. “At these rates, natural gas offers not only cost savings, but also convenience and comfort year-round.”
The BCUC also approved FortisBC’s request to keep the 2017 electric rates in effect as interim rates until a decision on permanent 2018 rates is approved, which means customers will see no change to their electricity rates January 1.
FortisBC has applied to the BCUC for a rate increase of 0.17 per cent for 2018 and this amount is now under regulatory review.
“This year’s low rate increase reflects FortisBC’s success in reducing costs in its operations while also making necessary system improvements and long-term investments,” said Roy.
Since 2014, electric rate increases have trended downward and FortisBC has provided a total of $4.6 million in savings to customers through lower rates. As of this year, the costs of past projects and investments have now been fully absorbed into rates. Since purchasing the utility in 2004, FortisBC has made more than $1 billion in investments to maintain and upgrade the electrical infrastructure as well as secure long-term electricity purchase agreements to meet customer growth and demand. FortisBC continues to make necessary investment in the system and this could impact rates in future years. As a result of this investment, electricity customers have a more reliable system, better customer service and secure, long term power.
NATURAL GAS BACKGROUNDER
Line items on a natural gas bill (excluding Fort Nelson)
he basic charge is a flat daily fee that partially recovers the fixed costs of our system, whether or not you are using any natural gas, as long as you are connected to the system. The basic charge is reviewed by the BCUC annually.he basic charge is a flat daily fee that partially recovers the fixed costs of our system, whether or not you are using any natural gas, as long as you are connected to the system. The basic charge is reviewed by the BCUC annually.
The delivery charge is based on consumption and pays for the cost of safely and reliably delivering gas through our system to your home or business. This helps cover the costs of maintaining our natural gas distribution system, earn a return on the amounts invested in our business and fund improvements to meet customers' needs. Delivery charges are reviewed by the BCUC annually.
Storage and transport
Storage and transport reflects the prices we pay to other companies to store and transport gas through their pipelines and infrastructure. We do not mark up these costs, and they are reviewed quarterly and set annually by the BCUC.
Cost of gas
Every three months, FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane cost of gas rates with the BCUC to make sure rates passed on to customers cover the cost of purchasing the gas on their behalf.
- Factors affecting the market price of natural gas and propane in North America include weather, supply and demand and economic conditions.
- Propane prices are also influenced by global oil markets.
- FortisBC does not mark up the cost of gas, customers pay what we pay.
Other charges and taxes
Other charges and taxes include the B.C. carbon tax, Clean Energy Levy, GST and, in some municipalities, the municipal operating fee. These charges are set by various levels of government and collected by FortisBC on their behalf. We do not gain revenue from these charges.
For more information about rates and to learn about the components of a bill statement, customers can visit: fortisbc.com/rates.
For more information about changes to commercial rates visit fortisbc.com/commercialrates
2018 Bill examples
Residential electricity rates
Bi-monthly Residential Service (view a sample bill):
- Customer Charge $32.09 based on 60 day billing period.
- First 1,600 kWh are billed at 10.117¢ per kWh.
- Additional kWh are billed at 15.617¢ per kWh.
Commercial electricity rates
Small Commercial Service:
This rate is for non-residential customers whose electrical demand is generally not more than 40 kW and can be supplied through one meter.
- Customer Charge $38.80 based on 60 day billing period.
- All kWh are billed at 10.195¢ per kWh.
This rate is for non-residential customers whose electrical demand is generally greater than 40 kW but less than 500 kW and can be supplied through one meter.
- Customer Charge $16.48 based on 30 day billing period.
- Demand Charge of $8.60 per kW of billing demand above 40 kW.
- First 8000 kWh are billed at 8.663¢ per kWh.
- Balance of kWh are billed at 7.191¢ per kWh.
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FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity and propane. FortisBC employs more than 2,200 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,200 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 48,700 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. do business as FortisBC. FortisBC is indirectly, wholly owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American electric and gas utility business. Additional information can be accessed at fortisinc.com or sedar.com.