KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2009) - FortisBC Inc. (TSX:FTS) announced today that the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has recently approved its 2009-2010 capital plan.
The Company received approval to spend approximately $151 million net of customer contributions of $14 million and $141 million net of customer contributions of $15 million in 2009 and 2010 respectively. An additional $16 million is subject to further regulatory processes. The capital plan approval is subject to the condition that the impact of the capital expenditures undertaken does not cause the 2009 general rate increase previously approved by the BCUC to be exceeded. The Company expects to be able to satisfy this condition.
The most significant areas of expenditure are those required to expand and upgrade the transmission and distribution system, including certain expenditures relating to the previously approved Okanagan Transmission Reinforcement Project, to meet customers' ongoing electrical requirements and to continue the Company's long-term upgrade and life extension program for FortisBC's hydroelectric generating plants.
"Approval of a two-year capital plan provides for efficient planning, allowing us to better forecast material, labour and construction resources, thereby reducing schedule and cost uncertainties," said John Walker, President & CEO, FortisBC.
The 2009-2010 capital plan includes plans to expand FortisBC's nationally recognized PowerSense program that helps customers conserve energy and get the most out of their energy dollar by providing both financial incentives and advice on energy efficient technologies and practices. Since its inception in 1989, FortisBC PowerSense has helped customers in BC's southern interior save more than 329 million kWh, enough energy to power over 25,000 homes each year.
About FortisBC Inc.
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 over 157,000 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 7,000 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. 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 forward-looking statements. The forward looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding upgrades and investments to facilities and the electrical system. 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 adverse weather conditions, 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; climate change does not reduce water flows; and, no material adverse increase in employee future benefit costs. 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; climate change risk; and, employee future benefits 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 for the year ended December 31, 2008. 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:
Jodie Foster Sexsmith
Community Relations and Media Advisor
(250) 469-8007 or Cellular: (250) 718-1718