BCUC approves propane rate increase 

The cost of propane is going up for Whistler residents effective Oct. 1, as the B.C. Utilities Commission approved Terasen Gas’s application to increase rates.

The cost per gigajoule of propane will go up to $16.65 from $15.72, an increase of 4.6 per cent. With average Whistler homes using 90 gigajoules a year, the change is expected to add about $75 annually to a typical Whistler homeowners’ propane bill.

"Volatility in the energy markets, increased demand for energy and international events of the past year have driven up the cost of propane," said Jon Marston, vice-president of marketing for Terasen Gas. "As a result, it’s costing us more to purchase propane for our customers and we are now at the point where we have to pass this increase on."

According to Terasen, buying bulk and locking in rates has enabled the utility to shield Whistler customers from increasing rates earlier.

Terasen Gas submitted its application to increase prices in June of this year.

Terasen Gas also recently submitted a resource plan to the BCUC that recommended building a pipeline to Whistler from Squamish and switching propane customers to natural gas. If approved, pipeline construction would take place in concert with planned highway upgrades. The switch would likely occur in 2007.

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