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Figure 5: Sample monthly residential gas bill – based on 7.37 GJ of consumption
This stacked area graph shows the breakdown of residential natural gas bills from October 2009 to January 2018. The sample bill is for 7.37 GJ of consumption per month in the province of B.C.. The graph shows the amount spent on four bill components: the carbon tax, the commodity price, variable charges, and fixed charges.
The commodity price component has fluctuated, but decreased from $36.50 per month on October 2009, to $11.42 per month on January 2018.
The carbon tax component was $5.80 per month in October 2009, and increased to $11.22 per month by January 2018.
Variable charges have increased over time. They increased from $28.08 per month in October 2009 to $37.68 per month in January 2018.
Fixed charges have remained fairly constant, decreasing slightly from $11.84 per month in October 2009 to $11.67 per month by January 2018.
Natural gas provider
FortisBC is a regulated private natural gas and electricity utility. It is the main residential natural gas service provider in B.C., serving the main population centers in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Smaller population centers in north and central B.C. are served by Pacific Northern Gas Ltd.
The following components comprise an average residential bill for a FortisBC customer:
The ‘cost of gas’ is a consumption charge that is based on the commodity price of natural gas. This charge is approved periodically by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), approximately every quarter. The commodity price component has fluctuated, but generally decreased from $36.50 per month ($4.95 per GJ) on October 2009, to $11.42 per month ($1.55 per GJ) on January 2018. This decrease is partly due to lower natural gas prices which are a result of increasing North American gas supply from shale gas production.
The carbon price in B.C. has two components: the BC carbon tax, and a Clean Energy Levy. As of 1 January 2018, the B.C. carbon tax was $30 per tonne of CO2 equivalent, which increased to $35 in April 2018 (not shown here). The Clean Energy Levy is an additional tax applied to natural gas and propane. It is also a consumption based tax and is 0.4% of the value of gas. The total carbon tax was $7.78 per month in October 2009 ($1.06 per GJ), and increased to $12.80 per month by January 2018 ($1.74 per GJ).
B.C. residential gas bills have two variable charges. The ’delivery charge’ goes towards delivery costs. The ’storage and transportation’ charge is allocated to the transportation of gas to the distribution system, and the seasonal storage of natural gas. Variable charges have increased over time. They increased from $28.08 per month ($3.81 per GJ) in October 2009 to $37.68 per month (5.11 per GJ) in January 2018.
The ‘basic charge’ is a per-day fee that is billed to customers connected to the natural gas distribution system. This charge goes towards paying for pipeline system costs and administration. Fixed charges have remained fairly constant, decreasing slightly from $11.84 per month in October 2009 to $11.67 per month by January 2018.
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