FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Utilities Commission has approved increases to Pacific Northern Gas rates in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, and Tumbler Ridge.
As of January 1st, Fort St. John residents will be paying $7.04 per gigajoule, an increase of $1.37/GJ over the rate set back on October 1st. Small commercial customers’ rate increase in the Energetic City will also rise from $4.70/GJ to $6.22/GJ. Dawson Creek residents will see an increase to $6.85/GJ, while residential customers in Tumbler Ridge will pay $11.76/GJ.
The BCUC says that the increase in delivery rates is required in the three communities primarily because customer demand has declined, particularly from industrial customers. In a release, the Commission stated that, “When customer demand is forecast to decrease, any increase in delivery and commodity costs are spread over fewer gigajoules, resulting in a per-gigajoule rate increase.”
The Commission also says that the market price for natural gas has risen in recent months, a trend that is forecast to continue. The BCUC reviews PNG’s commodity charges every quarter. Commodity charges are a flow-through cost of the market rates that PNG pays for natural gas, from which the company cannot earn a profit. In Fort St. John the commodity charge in 2015 ranged from approximately $2.83/GJ to $3.93/GJ. The Fort St. John residential commodity charge was reduced to approximately $2.20/GJ at the beginning of 2016, but will increase to approximately $2.63/GJ effective January 1, 2017.