KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2007) - The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has approved FortisBC's (TSX:FTS) 2008 rate application, which will result in a 2.9% general rate increase effective January 1, 2008. As a result, the average residential customer may see an increase of approximately $27.72 per year.
"At FortisBC we are sensitive to the challenges customers face with rising energy costs and work hard to minimize rate increases as much as possible through operational efficiencies and improved performance," said John Walker, President & CEO, FortisBC.
The rate increase is driven primarily by continued customer growth and increased electrical demand, which creates the need for additional capital investment and power purchases. Over the last three years, FortisBC has made significant progress upgrading electrical infrastructure, improving safety, reliability and customer service. The Company expects to invest $137 million in 2007 and $124 million in 2008, in the electrical system in its operating area in the southern interior of British Columbia.
The 2008 rates were determined using a performance based regulation (PBR) mechanism, which allows for a streamlined regulatory process, reduced regulatory costs and a shared savings component to encourage further operational efficiency. The mechanism includes a negotiation component between FortisBC and its major customer stakeholders, assisted by the BCUC.
FortisBC also offers programs and services to help customers manage their electrical bills through energy conservation initiatives. The Company's PowerSense program provides both financial incentives and helpful advice on energy efficient technologies and practices. Information on FortisBC energy efficiency programs is available at www.fortisbc.com.
FortisBC Inc. is an integrated electric utility based in Kelowna, British Columbia. The Company serves approximately 152,000 customers directly and indirectly through wholesale utilities in the southern interior of British Columbia. FortisBC owns four regulated hydroelectric generating plants and approximately 6,750 kilometers of transmission and distribution power lines. FortisBC employs over 570 people in British Columbia and is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Inc. Fortis Inc. is the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada with $10 billion in assets serving 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 forward-looking statements. 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 are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally. Such risk factors or assumptions include, but are not limited to, general economic, market and business conditions, regulatory developments, weather and competition. FortisBC cautions readers that a number of factors could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results discussed or implied in the forward-looking statements. 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. 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