FortisBC Energy Inc. is proposing a rate subsidy for propane users in Revelstoke.
At the moment rates are much more volatile than for propane users than for natural gas users, Fortis is proposing that they amalgamate propane supply costs with the midstream natural gas supply resource costs and implement a revised cost rate setting mechanism.
“The proposed rate setting mechanism will provide Revelstoke customers with propane rate stability that matches the stability of FEI’s natural gas customer rates, and can provide propane commodity rate relief to Revelstoke customers,” the application to the BC Utilities Commission reads.
Revelstoke operates as a satellite off-grid distribution system where propane is brought in via rail or truck, stored and distributed as needed. Fortis has 1,500 customers in Revelstoke and claims that implementing this new system would reduce their customers annual propane bill.
Fortis estimates that, should the system be changed, Revelstoke residential customers would see their annual bill decrease an average of $407. Small commercial operations would see an average of $2,100 in savings and large commercial users would see an average savings of $48,200 a year.
By comparison, with this change Lower Mainland residents will see an average cost decrease of 98 cents a year.
The utilities commission has called for a written hearing process before making the decision on Fortis’ proposal. The deadline for people to register to participate in the process by Sept. 12.
In a presentation made to council on Aug. 27, Suchy said that the proposed subsidy will have detrimental effects on alternative energy forms. He predicts that if the proposal is approved, that Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation will find it difficult to compete in the market.
He also said that he believes subsidizing the use of fossil fuels in times of climate crisis is not the right move and requested that the city oppose or request changes to Fortis’ plans.
Instead he recommended that the city look at opportunities to create combustible gas from wood waste and other green alternatives available locally.