Seeking fairness for Vancouver Island

Parksville Qualicum Beach residents pay twice as much as those in other parts of the province for natural gas

People living in places like Whistler, Osoyoos, Kelowna and Vancouver are getting their natural gas from Fortis for half the price paid by those living on Vancouver Island.

As municipalities search for ways to cope with rising costs, they are also looking for some fairness in what residents and businesses pay for natural gas. Right now, people in Parksville Qualicum Beach are paying $14.44/gigajoule, compared to $7.86 in the Lower Mainland.

“There is a push among municipalities to get some rate equalization so we don’t get so hammered,” said Parksville Mayor Chris Burger.

“We need to be on a level playing field on the Island if we are going to be a viable place to live and work.”

Parksville Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell said she has heard pleas for help in this matter from the councils of Qualicum Beach, Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo.

“I have raised this concern with  (Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman) and right now we are in the process of waiting for the appeal that Fortis put forward,” said Stilwell. “It’s a challenging issue right now for us.”

It seems Fortis B.C. is in favour of making the playing field more level.

The company is proposing to move to common rates and services across the province, excluding the Fort Nelson service area. The company applied in April of 2012, and this application was denied by the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) in February of this year. It has since reapplied, requesting that the BCUC reconsider the application, excluding Fort Nelson from the postage stamp rate proposal.

Fortis B.C. spokesperson Michael Allison told The NEWS on Monday he expects a decision from the BCUC in the first quarter of 2014. Allison said if the BCUC looks favourably on the company’s proposal for a new rate structure, Vancouver Island customers would pay 25 per cent less for natural gas.

“We want all customers to be able to pay the same amount for their gas service no matter where they live,” said Allison.

“If our application is approved, each customer in a given customer class will be charged the same rate, regardless of where they live,” the company states on its website. “This provides significant benefits to a sizable portion of our customers, notably on Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Powell River and Whistler over the longer-term.”

Just Posted

Qualicum man sentenced for tying up, robbing another man

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in 2017

Parksville man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says city official

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

Mayor Ed Mayne held facilitated event in January to hear visions for city, council

RDN to form new group to replace Northern committees

Recreation commissioners disappointed with the decision

Second delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives March 21

Vehicles should expect intermittent single-lane alternating traffic

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read