NORTHWESTERN B.C. natural gas rates are on the rise.

Northwestern B.C. natural gas rates on the rise

Cost of delivering gas is the reason for the rate increase

  • Oct. 14, 2016 5:00 a.m.

Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) has received approval to raise what it charges for delivering natural gas to residential customers by 4.4 per cent for this year and by a further 3.2 per cent next year.

The regional utility had already received approval as of Jan. 1 for an interim rate hike until its regulator, the BC Utilities Commission, set final rates last month which became effective Oct. 1.

Information filed by PNG indicates this year’s increase works out to $35 per year for a typical residential customer consuming 67.5 gigajoules of gas and will mean a further $27 in 2017.

The utilities commission approved the increases based on PNG’s rising costs to deliver the commodity.

As it is, northwestern natural gas consumers pay nearly three times what natural gas consumers do elsewhere in the province to have the fuel delivered to homes and businesses.

That’s because PNG no longer has any large-scale customers needing capacity within its 10-inch-around pipeline serving the northwest.

Without those large-scale customers, residents and smaller businesses and enterprises have to shoulder the entire burden of maintaining the line.

But what PNG customers won’t have to pay more for yet is the price of natural gas itself. The utility buys gas on behalf of its customers and cannot add an additional charge to its customers.

But once its rates are set, it has the ability on a regular basis later on to charge more if the price has increased in the meantime to make up for any gap or they can credit back a portion of what it has collected should the price have dropped.

That’s done under the watchful eye of the utilities commission and this fall there hasn’t been enough of a natural gas price variance to trigger a change, says PNG official Verlon Otto.

PNG applies for rates based on 12 month periods and prices are expected to continue to be low over that time period, he said.

But while PNG’s customers here have avoided an increase in the price of natural gas, that isn’t the case with customers of FortisBC, the large natural gas utility on the lower mainland. As of Oct. 1, it raised its natural gas charge by 90 cents a gigajoule or 80 per cent.

That’s because Fortis calculates its rates on a 24-month basis and not the 12-month period used by PNG.

“Market forecasts suggest prices will increase more over the next 24 months than over the next 12, and this fact was the primary trigger for FortisBC to have a rate increase and not PNG,” said Otto.






Just Posted

Contractors dig into construction of union office in Terrace

Traffic has been detoured on Kalum St. by Lazelle and Park Ave. for work on the BCGEU office

Baby bear captured on Kalum St.

Bear cub had been seen in area backyards for several days

Public asked to be on lookout for bear cub

Norhtern Lights Animal Shelter on its way here to capture baby bruin in Scott Avenue area.

Searchers rush to find missing hikers with one-year-old child

Family out overnight in cold near Watson Lake

Sears set to close its doors in Terrace

Action follows franchise owners’ successfull, 17-year run

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

B.C. woman plagued by bedbugs on airplane not surprising, says expert

Heather Szilagyi was on a British Airways flight when she noticed bedbugs crawling out of the seat

4 B.C. prisons install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

The scanners are aimed to combat the smuggling of contraband including weapons and drugs

Outspoken Mountie assigned to admin duties for refusing to shave goatee

The 15-year veteran of the force said he believes the RCMP is targeting him

Most Read