KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 3, 2008) - The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has announced its approval for FortisBC's (TSX:FTS) Okanagan Transmission Reinforcement project (OTR) application.
"We are pleased to receive BCUC's approval of this important project," said Doyle Sam, Vice President of Engineering and Operations for FortisBC. "The Okanagan has experienced significant growth over the last ten years and this project is an integral part of FortisBC's system development plan. The OTR project will provide needed system enhancements, ensuring customers have safe and reliable power as residential areas and businesses centres continue to grow."
FortisBC anticipates that construction activity for the $141 million project will begin in the spring of 2009 and anticipates project completion in 2011.
"We remain committed to regular communication with local residents and surrounding communities and will make every effort to minimize disruption during construction," added Sam.
In its decision, the BCUC approved plans to upgrade the existing overhead transmission lines from 161kV to 230kV from Vaseux Lake south to Oliver, and Vaseux Lake north to Penticton, and the addition of a 230kV line from Vaseux Lake north to Penticton. The decision also approves the construction of a new electrical substation in Oliver east of the current station, and modifications to the current Oliver substation as well as the Vaseux and RG Anderson substations.
For more information on the project, interested individuals are encouraged to contact FortisBC on the toll free number at 1-866-4FORTIS (1-866-436-7847) or visit the Company's website at www.fortisbc.com. The full BCUC decision is also available at www.bcuc.com/NewlyReleased.aspx.
FortisBC Inc. is an integrated regulated electric utility based in Kelowna, British Columbia. Focused on the safe delivery of reliable and cost-effective electricity, FortisBC serves approximately 155,000 customers directly and indirectly through wholesale utilities in the southern interior of B.C. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants and approximately 6,900 kilometers of transmission and distribution power lines. FortisBC employs over 500 people in British Columbia and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. With total assets exceeding $10.5 billion, Fortis Inc. serves almost 2,000,000 gas and electric customers. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com or www.sedar.com.
FortisBC may include forward-looking statements in this release which reflect management's expectations regarding the Company's future growth, results of operations, performance, business prospects and opportunities. Wherever possible, words such as "anticipate", "believe", "expects", "intend" and similar expressions have been used to identify the forwardlooking statements. The forward looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the anticipated cost and completion of construction activity. These statements reflect management's current beliefs and are based on information currently available to the Company's management. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are based on underlying factors or assumptions, which include, but are not limited to, receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and requested rate orders; continued electricity demand; absence of weather and natural disasters and equipment breakdown; no significant decline in interest rates; the ability to arrange sufficient and cost effective financing; the ability to maintain and renew collective bargaining agreements on acceptable terms; absence of environmental damage; the First Nations' settlement process does not adversely affect FortisBC; the adequacy of FortisBC's existing insurance arrangements; that counterparties do not default on power supply contracts; no weather related demand loss; ability to maintain and obtain applicable permits; and climate change does not reduce water flows. These forward-looking statements are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or results anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risk factors or assumptions include, but are not limited to, regulatory approval and rate orders risk; electricity demand risk; weather and natural disasters; equipment breakdown; operating and maintenance risk; interest rates risk; capital resources risk; labour relations risk; environmental matters risk; First Nations' land matters risk; underinsured and uninsured losses; power supply contracts risk; weather related demand loss; permits risk; and climate change risk. These factors should be considered carefully and undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking statements. For additional information with respect to certain of these risks or factors, reference should be made to FortisBC's continuous disclosure materials filed from time to time with Canadian Securities Regulatory Authorities including the section entitled "Business Risk Management" in FortisBC's Management Discussion & Analysis. Except as required by law, FortisBC disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Manager, Corporate Communications
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