KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - May 16, 2006) - Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS) and FortisBC Inc. -
FortisBC Inc. today announced that a proposed negotiated settlement agreement is now available on the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) website at www.bcuc.com. The settlement agreement addresses the Company's 2006 revenue requirements and a proposed multi-year performance based rate setting mechanism. The settlement agreement includes a 5.9% rate increase, which has been in place as an interim increase since January 1, 2006. The agreement is subject to final review and approval by the BCUC.
The settlement proposes that the Company's 2006 revenue requirements become the base year for the setting of performance based rates in 2007 and 2008, with an option to extend the term into 2009. Also included are an increase to the composite depreciation rate of the Company's assets and a new methodology for the capitalization of overhead costs.
"Throughout the application process we received good feedback from a broad spectrum of customers and stakeholders," noted John Walker, President & CEO of FortisBC Inc. "If approved, the proposed settlement will allow us to focus on our extensive capital program while at the same time continuing to move forward with improvements to customer service, productivity and system reliability. It will also allow for a more streamlined and transparent regulatory process."
The parties involved in the settlement process are: The British Columbia Old Age Pensioners Association, the Commercial Energy Consumers, The Interior Municipal Electricity Utilities, Natural Resources Industries and Hedley Improvement District, and individual registered intervenors.
FortisBC is an integrated electric utility operating in the southern interior of British Columbia, serving over 150,000 customers directly and indirectly. The utility has four hydroelectric generating plants with a combined capacity of 235 megawatts and over 6,400 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. - primarily a diversified, international electric utility holding company based in St. John's, Newfoundland, with assets exceeding $4.3 billion and annual revenues of more than $1.4 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.
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