A utility deal between two companies has the Silver Star Property Owners Association (SSPOA) in a festive mood.
FortisBC and Stargas Utilities – the utility that has supplied natural gas to Silver Star for more than 20 years – announced that FortisBC will be purchasing Stargas. The deal comes in the middle of ongoing Stargas proceedings at the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) for the review of the delivery and commodity rates.
“Silver Star ratepayers have always been at a disadvantage on our rates due to the seasonality of our demand and how that affects the rates charged under the Fortis 25 Tariff that Stargas must pay to bring natural gas to our resort,” said SSPOA president Mike Waberski.
“To be in the FortisBC tent brings equity to rates charged in Vernon and surrounding areas and offers all of the FortisBC benefits and incentives as well.”
Waberski said there are several issues that are outstanding in the BCUC proceedings but FortisBC and Stargas will be addressing them jointly. The SSPOA, who is the registered intervenor, will continue to ensure that ratepayer’s interests are addressed.
The SSPOA first intervened in late October 2016 when Stargas applied to vary their delivery rate. This was the first time in 17 years that there had been any sustained opposition to the rates charged by Stargas.
Stargas was initially offering a $0.45 per gigajoule (GJ) reduction which Waberski said they revised to only $0.30/GJ. The proceeding lasted until April 2017 when the BCUC ordered a $1.61/GJ decrease.
The SSPOA also asked Stargas to amortize the installation costs so that Silver Star could enjoy the same $25 fee that FortisBC customers had as opposed to the $1,700 that Stargas was charging.
“The 12 months spent as intervenors in 2016-17 was an educational experience on natural gas rate making that showed when a community comes together change can be accomplished,” Waberski said.