Despite recent news that natural gas usage can go back to normal, the price increase won’t be changing just yet.

FortisBC was given the green light by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) to increase natural gas rates by 9% on an interim basis after the Enbridge pipeline rupture earlier this year. The energy company has just announced that the conservation efforts they’d been requesting of their customers will no longer be necessary.

According to them, due to customers conserving, mild winter weather, healthy storage levels and the pipeline returning to 85% capacity, the natural gas supply outlook is more optimistic now.

Sean Beardow, Manager of Corporate Communications for FortisBC, said the rate increase is going to stay the same until at least March, when the BCUC will be reviewing the interim increase.      

“The storage and transport rate was really the main increase on the Q1 (first quarter) gas rates, and the reason that went up was due to the additional cost that was undertaken to secure additional natural gas to supply our customers during the Enbridge pipeline rupture and substantially reduced gas flows we’ve had over the last couple of months.”

Beardow said he couldn’t predict when the pipeline would be up to full capacity.

“That’s a process between the National Energy Board and Enbridge, they are continuing a lot of their inspection work through the winter. Once that is complete they’ll be having conversations with the NEB about getting back up to 100%.”