Fortis BC to Increase Rates

Metro Vancouver natural gas customers will see their bills rise an average of $61 a year after the B.C. Utilities Commission approved FortisBC rate changes.

FortisBC said in a news release Friday that the BCUC approved a 94-cent-per-gigajoule increase to the commodity rate, the cost of the gas itself, as the price of natural gas has risen.

But the BCUC has also approved a 29- cent-per-gigajoule decrease in the delivery rate, thus sparing users the full brunt of the gas price increase.

“The combined rate change means an increase of $0.642 per GJ, or approximately $61 per year for an average residential customer in the Lower Mainland,” the release said.

Cynthia Des Brisay, vice-president of energy supply and resource development for FortisBC, said in the release: “Natural gas costs fluctuate depending on market conditions.

“Over the past year, North American market prices have recovered from the depressed levels seen in early 2012 due to increased demand, a colder winter and a slowdown in production growth. These higher costs are requiring us to raise commodity rates.

“At the same time, delivery costs for some customers will be decreasing following a recent review by the BCUC.”