KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 24, 2005) - Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) and FortisBC Inc.
FortisBC Inc. today filed an application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to set customer electricity rates for 2006. The Company is requesting a general 5.9% increase, effective January 1, 2006. The rate increase is primarily related to a capital program focused on electrical system refurbishment to meet growing customer demand and replace aging infrastructure in FortisBC's service territory.
"The capital expenditures planned for 2006 will allow us to continue to address customer growth in our service territory, while ensuring the continued provision of safe, reliable electrical service to our customers," noted John Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer, FortisBC. "The Company has extensive capital expenditures planned for the next five years to simultaneously address a rapidly growing customer base and the need to replace a large amount of aged infrastructure. We expect our level of capital expenditures to reduce once we pass this peak of activity and return to system sustaining levels."
Significant areas of capital investment planned for 2006 include the expansion and upgrading of the transmission and distribution system in the South Okanagan and Kelowna areas. Planned capital expenditures also include the continuation of upgrades and life extension work on hydroelectric generation facilities in the Kootenays.
FortisBC is an integrated utility operating in the southern interior of British Columbia, serving over 146,000 customers directly and indirectly. The utility has four hydroelectric generating plants with a combined capacity of 205 megawatts and over 6,500 kilometers of transmission and distribution power lines. FortisBC employs over 500 people in BC and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. - primarily a diversified, international electric utility holding company based in St. John's, Newfoundland, with assets exceeding $4.1 billion and annual revenues of over $1.2 billion. The Common Shares, Series C First Preference Shares and Series E First Preference Shares of Fortis Inc. are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols FTS, FTS.PR.C and FTS.PR.E, respectively. Fortis Inc. information can be accessed at www.fortisinc.com.
FortisBC may include forward-looking statements in this release. By their very nature, forward-looking statements are based on underlying assumptions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally. Such events include, but are not limited to, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments, weather and competition. FortisBC cautions readers that should certain events or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary significantly from those expected. 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. 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
(604) 648-9724 (FAX)