BC Utilities Commission expands gas price data collection for Port Alberni, other B.C. communities

BC Utilities Commission expands gas price data collection for Port Alberni, other B.C. communities
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The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has announced it will be expanding its fuel price data collection and reporting for four areas in B.C. as a way to have greater gas price transparency.

Data from Port Alberni, Powell River, Revelstoke, and Squamish is being collected from June 1 to Sept. 30 and made publicly available on the BCUC’s GasPricesBC.ca website at regular intervals.

Data from Nanaimo and Langley will also be collected and used for comparative purposes.

The BCUC said the gathering and sharing of additional data is a result of public feedback, as the BCUC heard from many individuals seeking more specific retail pricing data.

“While our government has taken strong action to get to the bottom of unexplained high gasoline prices, British Columbians in some communities are still paying significantly more compared to neighbouring regions,” Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, said in a statement Monday.

“I’m pleased to see the BCUC is looking into why people in Powell River, Revelstoke, Port Alberni and Squamish are paying more for gasoline, in response to public feedback from these communities. People deserve transparency and fairness when it comes to gasoline prices.”

As administrator of The Fuel Transparency Act, the BCUC is responsible for collecting and publishing information about gasoline and diesel fuel activities in B.C.

Bill 42 – The Fuel Price Transparency Act (FPT Act) was introduced in the BC Legislature by Minister Bruce Ralston on November 18, 2019.

The FPT Act requires companies to report information and data on their activities in the gasoline and diesel fuel market in BC. Bill 42 received Royal Assent and became law on November 27, 2019.

On March 9, 2020, the BC government announced the BCUC as the administrator of the FPT Act. Then on April 7, 2020, the BCUC launched GasPricesBC.ca.

The BCUC, a regulatory agency responsible for oversight of energy utilities and compulsory auto insurance in B.C. does not regulate fuel prices.

But the legislation gives the BCUC the power to collect and publish information on refined fuel imports and exports, fuel volumes at refineries and terminals, and wholesale and retail prices.

According to Ralston, this helps to ensure companies are held publicly accountable for unexplained markups and price increases.

“For years, British Columbians have felt they are getting gouged when they fill up at the pump. That’s why our government asked the BCUC to do an investigation into gasoline prices,” Ralston said.

“The inquiry found a lack of competition and substantial markups in British Columbia’s gasoline market, including a 10 per cent to 13 per cent per-litre premium being charged to drivers that industry was unable to explain. This unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year.”

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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