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What are all these line items on my FortisBC natural gas bill?
January 2, 2019
Updated March 18, 2021
We often get asked questions about bills. Specifically, what do all the different charges mean and how are they determined? We would like to clarify a few of the charges that you see on your bills.
The charges on your bill cover the cost of buying natural gas from suppliers, we then deliver the natural gas through our system to your home or business. Other fees are collected on behalf of other organizations, such as taxes levied by the federal and provincial government, and municipalities.
FortisBC acquires natural gas and propane at market-based prices. Factors like weather, supply and demand and economic conditions affect the market price of natural gas and propane in North America. This is the cost of gas that appears on your bill. We don’t mark up the cost of gas. You pay what we pay.
In addition to the cost of natural gas, bills also show what is called the storage and transport charge that reflects the prices we pay to other companies to store and transport gas through their pipelines and infrastructure to our system. Like the cost of gas, storage and transport is not marked up – you pay what we pay.
The delivery charge reflects the costs to safely and reliably deliver gas to you through our distribution system. The charge enables us to recover operating costs and make investments in our business that will benefit the evolving needs of customers and their communities. The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) approves the overall revenue we collect from our customers to cover the cost of providing service.
The basic charge is a flat daily fee that partially recovers the fixed costs of our system as long as a customer is connected to it.
FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane rates regularly with the BCUC to make sure rates passed on to customers cover the cost of purchasing the gas on their behalf. Both basic and delivery charges are reviewed annually. Storage and transport charges are reviewed quarterly and set annually by the BCUC, and the cost of gas charge is reviewed every three months.
In addition to those charges, there are other items on the bill that we collect on behalf of all three levels of government. This includes GST for the federal government, the carbon tax for the provincial government and the clean energy levy, which goes toward supporting investment by the provincial government in clean energy technology, and in some municipalities, a municipal operating fee. These charges are set by various levels of government. FortisBC does not gain revenue from these charges.
FortisBC is regulated by the BCUC. This means that the line items you see on your bill were approved through transparent, public proceedings. Information about these proceedings is available online at bcuc.com.
We understand that getting a higher than expected bill can be frustrating and we are happy to work with customers having difficulty managing their bills. It is common to see higher gas bills during the winter months (from December to February) and we have several options available that can help customers meet their own unique circumstances.
While we realize a rate increase is never welcome, we continue to focus our efforts to keep costs as low as possible for customers. We always strive to deliver natural gas safely and reliably at the lowest reasonable cost to our customers.
To better understand your bill, see a sample residential bill, or take a closer look at your current rate and approximate total monthly bill amount.
Watch our video on how natural gas rates are set.
If you would like to speak to someone in person about your natural gas bill, you can call us toll free at 1-888-224-2710, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.