Re: “Natural gas decision rankles chamber,” Feb. 28.
Understandably, Vancouver Island is disappointed with the recent B.C. Utilities Commission’s decision to deny FortisBC’s application for common “postage stamp” rates; however, there is a little more to the story.
Fort Nelson operates a separate utility and we receive our gas by way of a transmission lateral from a nearby plant. It is accurate that Fort Nelson pays the lowest rate per gigajoule in FortisBC’s world; however, we do not have the lowest rates in the province and have paid for our own gas distribution and will continue to pay for upgrades to our system here. Vancouver Island has been protected from higher gas prices in the past through provincial subsidies.
While we enjoy a lower price per gigajoule we also “enjoy” the longest coldest season in B.C. Our current annual gas use for an average household is 144 gigajoules while Vancouver Island’s average use is 60 gigajoules. If FortisBC’s application had been approved, we would have seen Vancouver Islands rates drop by about 27 per cent while Fort Nelson’s increased by about 57 per cent, resulting in an increase of more than $540 annually for residential customers. We would be paying for distribution costs we don’t incur.
Fort Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce
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