FortisBC hikes Revelstoke propane rates by 9 per cent

The average Revelstoke propane bill will go up $64 in 2017, FortisBC says.

Revelstoke propane customers will see their rates go up next year.

FortisBC customers in Revelstoke are looking at a nine per cent increase in their gas bills come the new year, the company announced Friday.

The price of propane will be going up in Revelstoke by almost $1 per gigajoule, to $7.878 per GJ starting Jan. 1, while the delivery charge is going up by $0.281 per GJ to $4.299 per GJ.

Combined, the increases mean the average residential gas bill will go up $64 in 2017, says FortisBC.

The price of propane is influenced by the price of crude oil,” states FortisBC in a news release. “Propane prices are higher due to stronger crude oil prices, increased propane exports and reduced storage levels.

The price of crude oil increased to more than $51 per barrel from a low of about $35 per barrel in early 2016, though it has fluctuated wildly in the past six months.

Revelstoke customers were billed $6 per GJ at the start of 2016.

Revelstoke is the only community in B.C. that still receives propane.

The announcement comes a month after FortisBC informed the City of Revelstoke it was no longer converting the community to natural gas from propane because the price of propane had come down significantly in the past three years.

Propane is still more expensive than natural gas, but the gap has shrunk since early 2014, when plans to convert Revelstoke were first considered, FortisBC says.

Spokesperson Michael Allison said the new rates don’t change the utilities’ plans for the community. When the plans to convert Revelstoke were considered in early 2014, the price of a barrel of oil was about $100.

“While we do see changes quarter to quarter, what the conversion team here is looking for is something in the long term,” Allison said.