Revelstoke residents may see their heating bills get less expensive.
Three weeks after after Fortis BC announced propane rates in Revelstoke would be decreasing for the first time since October 2015, a representative of the energy distribution and retail company addressed City Council.
The intention of the visit was to provide an annual report to council and announce that Fortis BC is looking at a Revelstoke roll out commodity charge so that propane rates in Revelstoke would match those of natural gas across the province.
“It’s a small impact to the bulk of Fortis BC customers, but a large benefit to the residents of Revelstoke,”said Blair Weston, manager, community relations at Fortis BC.
The commodity price of propane is some $11.02 per GJ as of this month, according to Fortis BC, whereas the commodity price of LNG is about $1.50 per GJ as of January 2018.
Currently Revelstoke is one of the only places in the province where heating gas is provided by propane.
The piped system for distribution is the only of its kind that Fortis BC manages.
According to director of engineering Mike Thomas, the propane is delivered by train.
Weston said Fortis had previously considered converting the propane system they managed in Revelstoke into a liquefied natural gas facility, (LNG) but decided not to due to prohibitive costs. He said there are currently no plans to work on a LNG option for Revelstoke.
“We were looking into the possibility of converting the propane system into liquefied natural gas,” said Weston in council chambers on April 10. “We decided not to do that because it was too expensive and the price difference between natural gas and propane had started to fall.”
Councillor English pressed the representative on the company’s track record in Revelstoke.
English said the last time Fortis BC addressed council the energy distributor said they had a Revelstoke LNG option ready to go.
“It was very frustrating to sit here and hear that,” said English. “I really hope that Fortis is looking for a solution for the people in Revelstoke.”
Weston said there are no guarantees as to what the outcome will be.
The application for the roll out commodity charge will be submitted to the BC Utilities Commission, who regulate the rates of natural gas, electricity and propane across the province, and they will make the final decision.