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Business in Vancouver

Canadian energy company announces rate hike, citing high natural gas prices

‘Hotter-than-normal summer’ also drives up electricity demand

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 11:54am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 11:54am

Customers of British Columbia, Canada’s FortisBC can expect to pay an average of C$82 (US$62)more per year, on average, due to an upcoming rate hike.

The utility announced September 12 it is increasing its gas rate to C$2.050 (US$1.558)/GJ from C$1.141 (US$867)/GJ, beginning October 1. It said it reviews the costs of natural gas and propane with the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) every three months and adjusts prices to reflect market rates. Factors that affect the market rates include economic conditions, weather, supply and demand, and in the case of propane, global oil markets.

“Natural gas prices have risen since spring 2016,” said FortisBC vice-president of energy supply Dennis Swanson. “The hotter-than-normal summer, for most of Canada and the US, has resulted in higher-than-expected continental demand for electricity, which is often generated by natural gas.

“This, combined with a slowdown in natural gas production, has led to an increase in prices during the past few months.”

Swanson said even with the rate jump, natural gas prices remain at a decade low.

Video: How FortisBC sets natural gas rates (from FortisBC Youtube channel):