Trail Mayor calls for break in provincial power bill

Trail Mayor Dieter Boggs would like to see FortisBC lower power rates for the Greater Trail region.

A proposed common rate structure for FortisBC natural gas customers has Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs wondering when power will get such a break.

FortisBC has proposed amalgamation of its three natural gas utilities into one legal entity with common rates and services for natural gas customers across the province.

The requested change sent to the British Columbia Utilities Commission would lower rates for Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Powell River and Whistler customers, who would see decreases to average annual bills by up to 45 per cent.

“I’m glad for them and I think it’s right that they get a postage rate for natural gas but what about power?” said Bogs. “Fifty per cent of the power is generated here in our region – and we’re paying 25 per cent more – there’s something really wrong.”

Without a common rate structure adopted, a significant rate increase will occur as a result of an expiration of the Royalty Revenue agreement with the provincial government, which was put in place 20 years ago to help offset the cost to Vancouver Island folks.

In Whistler, a typical residential customer is projected to pay 65 per cent more than a Lower Mainland customer in 2013 without a newly implemented common rate.

Trail’s Lower Columbia Community Development Team is currently working on breaking some ground on common rates for power, said Bogs, who unloaded his frustration at a city council meeting Monday night.

“I had to get some steam off my chest, as you know I’ve preached this before and I will continue to preach it.”