On February 26, 2014 the BC Utilities Commission issued a Decision approving a FortisBC application to amalgamate its three natural gas utilities and provide a common rate for natural gas users in British Columbia. A previous FortisBC application to reorganize was denied by the Utilities Commission in 2013. This new Decision has positive implications for commercial and residential gas utility users on Vancouver Island. This change will result in an equalization of gas utility rates throughout the province which will immediately translate as significant savings in the Island region. This will especially allow high volume commercial/industrial users to be much more competitive in the marketplace because they will now be paying the same natural gas rates as their off-Island competitors who, until now, have had a distinct advantage in lower natural gas costs. This Decision, affecting the cost of living and doing business on Vancouver Island, positively concludes years of advocacy provided by innumerable local government and business leaders across the Island Region. The BC Chamber of Commerce, amongst many, has supported this direction and advocated for this Decision.
Here is a quote from Carol Greaves, Community Relations Manager, FortisBC regarding the Amalgamation and Common Rates Decision:
"Effective, January 1, 2015, FortisBC will amalgamate its three natural gas utilities into one entity and provide a common rate to natural gas users throughout British Columbia. Natural gas rates for residential customers will decrease by about 25% on Vancouver Island over 3 years. FortisBC has yet to determine what these decreases will look like per year, however, once the full decrease is in effect in 2018, the average savings for residential customers is expected to be about $215 annually. Commercial customers will see even greater discounts of between 30 and 45 percent depending on their commercial rate category. Natural gas users on the mainland will see an increase of about 5 percent over three years. Reduced natural gas rates on Vancouver Island will contribute to an even playing field for commercial and industrial economic development."