FortisBC gets approval for rate adjustment

3,000 FortisBC customers in Trail and area will be paying up to $32 a year more on their bill for natural gas.

A recent nod of the head from the B.C. Utilities Commission means 3,000 FortisBC customers in Trail and area will be paying up to $32 a year more on their bill for natural gas.

The BCUC recently gave FortisBC approval to hike the rates across the province, a response to an increase of midstream rates, which is what third parties charge FortisBC to store and transport the natural gas.

Although commodity gas rates for customers in Trail and the West Kootenay area are going to remain the same, midstream and delivery rates will increase effective Jan. 1, said FortisBC communications manager.

The combined rate change will mean for the average residential customer in the Trail and West Kootenay area using approximately 95 GJ (gigajoules) per year will see an increase of approximately $32 per year.

“These costs are passed on to customers without a mark-up,” said Pobran. “The interim delivery rate increase is from our revenue requirements application we filed with the BCUC earlier this year.

He said North American natural gas prices have continued to remain low due to abundant supply, allowing FortisBC to maintain their current commodity rate for most customers.

While the price of crude oil and propane remains high, there were no commodity rate increases for propane customers at this time.

FortisBC buys natural gas and propane on behalf of its customers and passes that price on without markup. Every three months, FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane commodity rates with the BCUC so rates passed on to customers cover the cost of purchasing the gas on their behalf.

As part of the 2012-2013 revenue requirement applications filed earlier this year, FortisBC received interim approval from the BCUC to increase its delivery rate $0.320 per GJ for customers in these regions — creating a combined rate change of up to $0.336 per GJ.

Customer Choice program participants can also expect to see changes to the delivery and midstream rates on their bills.