FortisBC played Santa Dec. 8 as it announced a New Year’s decrease in natural gas prices for most customers — amounting to about $4 per month overall depending on consumption.
The company said the decrease follows a review of delivery, storage and transport rates and its cost of gas rate each quarter with the BC Utilities Commission.
“This is done to ensure that the rates charged to customers appropriately recover the costs related to delivering energy safely and reliably,” FortisBC said in a statement.
"Customers will see an overall decrease because the cost of gas has gone down," said Joe Mazza, the company's vice-president of energy supply and resource development.
"It's important to remember, however, that rates reflect more than just the price of the commodity," he said. "Our rates also factor in important infrastructure upgrades and maintenance to our system to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of energy to our customers."
The company stressed the decrease is an overall one.
FortisBC said residential customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior, North, Whistler, Vancouver Island, Revelstoke and the Kootenays can expect an overall monthly decrease of approximately four per cent, or $4 per month based on the average monthly consumption of 7.5 gigajoules (GJs).
However, the utility said, because of spending to improve infrastructure in the Fort Nelson area, those costs are being spread across the entire customer base rather than just billed to some 2,400 customers in Fort Nelson.
That came about due to the commission’s approval of common rates with the rest of the province. The result, including the reduction in cost of gas rate, is a small overall increase.
For residential customers, monthly bills will increase by approximately $1, a one per cent increase. This is based on an average household consumption of approximately 10 GJs per month.
FortisBC serves more than a million customers across the province using 50,493 kilometres of gas transmission and distribution pipelines.
Pacific Northern Gas services customers in the northeast and along the Prince George-Prince Rupert corridor, including Kitimat. Glacier Media has reached out to the company to see if its customers can expect any rate changes.