Fortis One Step Closer to Common Rates

At the end of June the BCUC agreed to reconsider the Foris application to amalgamate its various rate territoroes into one provincial pool of customers. Thatwould mean that all customers would pay the same rates for delivery and gas supply and would pay very marginally different rates for midstream, aka pipeline and peaking costs. Of course residential customers would still pay more, as would customers with `peaky` cold sensitive loads, but overall rates would be similar everywhere.

Earlier this year the BC Utilities Commission had ruled that they would not hear the Fortis application because, as they saw it, the application clearly would result in one regions rate payers subsidizing those in another region and thus they could not even consider the issue of what was in the broader public interest.  Fortis eventually responded with the argument that the suggested rates should be considered from the point of view of an already amalgamted company and that in that case there would be bno cross subsidy. This is already the cse between Lower Mainland and interior rates where the large numbers of Lower mainland customers rates bring down the Interior customers rates, but because that  amalgamation was done long ago, they are now pooled and only one rate is calculated.

Other utility or utility like companies, such as Telus and BC Hydro already have `postage stamp`rates, so named because, like a postage stamp, the rate is the same everywhere. From  the point of view of a basic commodity such as energy this arrangment makes sense, especially in the absence of a open market place with many suppliers.