Terasen Gas Whistler applied to the B.C. Utilities Commission last week to reduce rates for Whistler customers by another 10 per cent, to reflect the difference in price between propane and natural gas.
Terasen is in the process of converting Whistler from propane to natural gas. The transition is taking place over the summer, one subdivision at a time.
As of Wednesday the conversion to natural gas was halfway complete, according to Carol Greaves, community relations manager for the utility. On Monday the crews were on section 40 of 84 sections, and on pace to complete the project by Aug. 26.
As new sections are completed, Terasen is lowering its rate to reflect the lower cost of natural gas compared to propane. In May Terasen announced a 12 per cent decrease that went into effect on June 1, while the additional 10 per cent reduction is effective July 1.
Before the more than 22 per cent reduction in price, Whistler's propane customers paid 2.4 times as much for service as natural gas customers in Squamish and the Lower Mainland. While Greaves expects to see further reductions as more of Whistler's natural gas conversion is completed, the utility has received BCUC approval to recoup the cost of switching customers from propane to natural gas. That cost will be passed on to customers.
As well, Terasen Gas Whistler is a separate company from Terasen in the Lower Mainland and Squamish, where the cost of services and upgrades are absorbed by a much larger population.