Natural gas rates and your bill
March 1, 2019 by Dennis Swanson
Due to the Enbridge pipeline rupture in October 2018, the pipeline was unable to supply sufficient volumes of natural gas to our distribution system. As such, FortisBC had to obtain additional gas supply from other sources to ensure we met our customer’s needs. In a recent rate submission to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), it was determined that the added cost of these actions would be met by increasing the Storage and Transport rate as part of the approved rates.
The rate increase reflects the prices we paid to procure additional gas either from storage or on the open marketplace, to replace the gas that was not received through the Enbridge pipeline. Under the province’s regulatory structure, these are flow through costs that are paid for by customers to account for part of the cost of providing gas service to homes and businesses. FortisBC does not mark up these costs or make any profit on Storage and Transport rate. You pay what we pay.
It is important to understand that the BCUC reviews all changes to FortisBC’s customer rates and determines whether changes are necessary. In this case, the BCUC has determined that an increase in the rate charged to the majority of our natural gas customers was needed to cover these additional costs. The rates are based on a “Standard 12-month rate model”, which means the rates (including the storage and transport rate) will continue to be reviewed every quarter and set on an annual basis.
Other charges and taxes you see on your bill, such as the carbon tax, are set by various levels of government – we collect them on their behalf. FortisBC does not receive revenue from these charges and we cannot control the price of taxes, including the carbon tax. If you still have questions about the various line items on your bill, check out this recent story, which explains each in detail.
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 natural 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.
For questions about your bill, visit: fortisbc.com/rates or call our Contact Centre at 1-888-224-2710.