Natural gas prices are rising

FortisBC has received approval from the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to modify natural gas rates. Beginning October 1 customers will see changes to their bill.

“Natural gas prices have risen since spring 2016,” Dennis Swanson, vice-president of energy supply for FortisBC, said in a statement. “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.

“Despite this, natural gas prices are still near their lowest levels in a decade. As we approach the winter heating season, we encourage our customers to continue using energy wisely, to help keep costs down.”

Propane rates for Revelstoke customers remained unchanged due to healthy propane storage levels and relatively stable oil prices over the past few months, the statement said.

Every three months, FortisBC reviews natural gas and propane cost of gas rates with the BCUC to make sure rates passed on to customers cover the cost of purchasing the gas on their behalf. Factors affecting the market price of natural gas and propane in North America include weather, supply and demand and economic conditions. Propane prices are also influenced by global oil markets.

The majority of natural gas customers will see an increase to their cost of gas rate of $0.909 per gigajoule (GJ), meaning the cost of gas rate will change from $1.141/GJ to $2.050/GJ. These changes will result in an increase of approximately $82 annually for residential customers, based on the average use of 90 GJ per year.

Customer Choice program participants will not be affected by changes to the cost of gas rate, the statement said.