FortisBC customers in Revelstoke are going to see a 12 per cent increase on their bills starting Jan. 1, 2020.
Announced on Dec. 4 in a news release from the company, the average bill will increase $99 for the year, based on an average usage of 50 GJ.
Diane Sorace, spokesperson for Fortis BC, said the increase is due to a shortage of propane storage levels and higher oil prices.
“It’s a supply and demand issue.”
FortisBC reviews energy costs every three months. She said the price could be adjusted again in the spring.
Sorace said the increase is not unusual for Revelstoke as the price of propane is more volatile then natural gas.
Last year, the price of propane decreased by 11 per cent.
Currently, the price of natural gas is $1.54 per GJ, which Sorace said is among the lowest its ever been. With next year’s price increase, propane in Revelstoke will be more than $11 per GJ.
In most of the province, natural gas customers will see a two per cent drop in their energy bill next year.
FortisBC considered bringing natural gas to Revelstoke as recently as 2016, however, the project was cancelled due to the similar prices between propane and natural gas at the time.
Sorace said bringing natural gas to Revelstoke would be exceedingly expensive and the cost would fall on the customer. FortisBC even investigated trucking in natural gas, but concluded that it wasn’t cost effective.
At the moment, FortisBC currently has an application in with the BC Utilities Commission to stabilize and decrease propane rates for Revelstoke customers. If this is approved there could be a savings of $400 for home owners.
There is no timeline for the application, but FortisBC hopes for approval next year. People can still intervene in the process if they wish.
Sorace said the company is “really pushing hard” for the subsidy.
“We have affordability concerns for Revelstoke customers.”
Sorace continued that if the propane price increase is concerning for residents, they should contact FortisBC as the company will work one-on-one with customers to try and lower their energy bills.
Water rates will also increase in the new year by five per cent, costing residents roughly $25.