Unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year
A key step in implementing the Fuel Price Transparency Act (FPTA) has been taken, bringing the legislation into force and giving the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) the power to make special requests for information from oil and gas companies, the province announced on Monday.
“This step gives the BCUC the power to collect information to hold oil and gas companies accountable,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “British Columbians are tired of feeling gouged at the pump. It’s time to pull back the curtain on fuel pricing.”
Effective immediately, the BCUC has been named as the administrator of the FPTA. The FPTA will require companies to submit regular information to the BCUC about the fuel market in British Columbia. It also gives the BCUC power to make special requests for information outside of the regular reporting schedule. Information that could be collected includes refined fuel imports and exports, and fuel volumes at refineries and terminals, as well as wholesale and retail prices.
The FPTA was developed in response to the BCUC investigation that found a lack of competition and substantial markups in the province’s gasoline market, including a 10- to 13-cent-per-litre premium being charged to drivers that industry was unable to explain during the BCUC inquiry. This unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year.
The FPTA will make companies publicly accountable for unexplained markups and price increases, and produce a common set of facts to help government properly evaluate other policy measures to bring fairness at the pump.
The government will now engage with the BCUC on further steps in the implementation of the FPTA, with work underway to determine the type and frequency of the information to be collected on a regular reporting schedule through regulation.