Natural gas rate hike approved for FortisBC

Rebounding gas prices result in $61 hit to typical home

Natural gas prices are going up for most residential users across B.C.

A jump in natural gas rates in the Lower Mainland means most households using gas will pay about $61 more each year.

The B.C. Utilities Commission approved the rate increase by FortisBC effective July 1.

Fortis officials say natural gas prices have rebounded from low levels in 2012 after increased demand, a colder winter and a slowdown of growth in gas production.

Commodity rates today are still about half of what they were in 2006, according to the company.

Fortis charges no markup on the commodity cost of the gas, it makes a profit only through its delivery charges to transmit it.

While the commodity cost is going up by $0.936 per gigajoule (GJ), the delivery charge is actually dropping by $0.294/GJ, so the net increase is $0.642. The average home uses about 95 GJ per year.

Customers who buy their gas on a fixed-price contract from a different supplier delivered through Fortis will pay about $28 less because of the reduced delivery charge.

The rate changes apply in the Lower Mainland, Interior, Kootenays and northern B.C.