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Type Subsidiary
Industry Electricity, Natural Gas
Headquarters Kelowna and Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Key people Michael Mulcahy, President and Chief Executive Officer
Parent Fortis Inc.

FortisBC Inc is an electric power and gas distribution/retail company in the Canadian province of British Columbia and a subsidiary of Fortis Inc. Newfoundland-based Fortis Inc. is Canada’s largest private utility company. On March 1, 2011, Terasen Gas—British Columbia's largest natural gas distributor—has been renamed FortisBC Energy Inc., as both companies are owned by Fortis Inc.[1]

FortisBC (electricity) serves approximately 111,500 customers directly in communities throughout south central British Columbia, including Kelowna, Osoyoos, Trail, Castlegar, Princeton and Rossland and approximately 48,500 customers through the wholesale supply of power to municipal distributors in the communities of Summerland, Penticton, Grand Forks, and Nelson.

FortisBC (natural gas) serves approximately 920,000 customers in over 125 communities. Rates for different areas of service vary by over 60%; customers in the Lower Mainland pay $8.897 per gigajoule, whilst customers a couple of dozen kilometers away on Vancouver Island pay $14.325 per GJ. The company owns and operates 44,100 kilometres of gas distribution pipelines and 4,300 kilometres of gas transmission pipelines. Its service territory includes Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the southern interior of the province. FortisBC (natural gas) also develops alternative energy systems, such as geoexchange and district energy systems for communities and municipalities. Xebec to Build Biogas Plant for Terasen,[2] The company also produces renewable natural gas—a locally sourced carbon-neutral product created from landfill and agricultural waste.[3]

Together, FortisBC (electricity) and FortisBC (natural gas) deliver over 20% of total energy consumed in B.C. and serve more than 1.1 million customers in more than 135 communities.[4]

The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) regulates both FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc.; rates are set within a framework combining cost of service and performance-based regulation. This framework is intended to encourage FortisBC to operate efficiently by permitting its shareholders and customers to share in cost savings if specified targets are met.


FortisBC (electricity) provides the following services:

  • Generating, transmitting and distributing electricity to homes and businesses in the southern interior of British Columbia
  • 24-hour outage repair and emergency response
  • Building, maintaining and upgrading power lines and facilities
  • Installing and reading meters
  • Providing electrical safety education in the community

FortisBC (natural gas) provides the following services:

  • Natural gas
  • Piped propane
  • New energy solutions, such as geoexchange and district energy systems


  • Roger Dall’Antonia, Executive Vice President, Customer Service & Regulatory Affairs
  • Cynthia Des Brisay, Vice President, Energy Supply & Resource Development
  • Jody Drope, Vice President, Human Resources and Environment, Health and Safety
  • Michele Leeners, Vice President, Finance & CFO
  • Michael Mulcahy, President & CEO
  • Doyle Sam, Executive Vice President, Operations & Engineering
  • Doug Stout, Vice President, Market Development & External Relations
  • Dennis Swanson, Vice President, Corporate Services

Corporate history[edit]

FortisBC (electricity)[edit]

West Kootenay Power (WKP) was founded in 1897 and owned by Teck Resources Ltd. (formerly Cominco) from 1916 until 1987, when it was acquired by Missouri-based UtiliCorp United (later renamed Aquila Networks). In October 2001, WKP changed its name to UtiliCorp Networks as part of the company’s shift in strategy to focus on becoming a networks services business. In June 2002, the subsidiary’s name was changed again to Aquila Networks Canada.

In 2001, WKP/UtiliCorp had agreed to sell its BC generation assets (205 MW) to Columbia Power Corporation for $120m and buy back the power under a 60-year power purchase agreement (PPA).[clarification needed] The projects involved in that deal were 4 traditional storage dams: Corra Linn (WKP#4), Upper Bonnington (WKP#2), Lower Bonnington (WKP#1) and South Slocan (WKP#3). However, this deal was not given regulatory approval from the BC Utilities Commission as UtiliCorp was unwilling to pass along any of its $60m gain from the sale to ratepayers.

In September 2003, Fortis agreed to pay $1.4bn to acquire all of Aquila’s Alberta and BC distribution and retail assets, which included a large section of the Alberta transmission grid that Aquila had purchased from TransAlta for $600m in 2000.

FortisBC Energy Inc. (natural gas)[edit]

FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a Canadian, investor-owned corporation. Before being renamed in March 2011, FortisBC (natural gas) was known as Terasen Gas.

  • 1952: Inland Natural Gas was incorporated to distribute natural gas throughout the interior of British Columbia. The company purchased several subsidiaries, including: St. John Oil and Gas, Peace River Transmission, Canadian Northern Oil and Gas, and Grand Prairie Transmission.
  • 1980s: Inland Natural Gas purchased the Lower Mainland gas division from BC Hydro and changed its name to BC Gas, serving 546,000 customers in 70 communities across BC.
  • 2002: BC Gas became the dominant distributor of natural gas in British Columbia by purchasing Centra Gas BC Inc. and Centra Gas Whistler Inc. adding 75,000 natural gas customers on the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island, and 2,000 piped propane customers in Whistler.
  • 2003: BC Gas Inc. became Terasen Inc.
  • May 17, 2007, Fortis Inc. acquired Terasen Inc. from Kinder Morgan, which owned the corporation since 2005.
  • 2011: the Terasen group of companies – Terasen Gas Inc., Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., Terasen Gas (Whistler) Inc. ¬– become FortisBC Energy Inc.

FortisBC Inc. facilities and generation[edit]

FortisBC has operated and maintained hydroelectric power facilities in British Columbia for the past 100 years. These facilities are either owned by FortisBC or if owned by others, are operated and maintained under management agreements in both regulated and non-regulated environments.

FortisBC owns four regulated hydro-electric generating plants on the Kootenay River with an aggregate capacity of 223 MW. They are the Corra Linn, Upper Bonnington, Lower Bonnington, and South Slocan Plants. All of these plants have water diverted by BC Hydro's Kootenay Canal.

FortisBC also owns Walden North, a non-regulated 16 megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric generating plant near Lillooet, British Columbia. FortisBC operates and maintains two generating plants with a total generating capacity of 599 MW. They are the Waneta Dam,[5] which is owned by Teck Resources Ltd and Brilliant Dam which is owned by Columbia Power Corporation.

Corra Linn[edit]

Main article: Corra Linn Dam

The Corra Linn Dam was initially built in 1932 to control upstream storage by raising Kootenay Lake and generate power through three 19,000 horsepower units operating under the depth of water behind the dam of approximately 16 metres. With the raising of the water levels, the Taghum bridge upstream from the new dam needed to be raised 2 metres.[6] The aggregate generating capacity is 49 MW. The Corra Linn Dam is located on the Kootenay River, approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) downstream of Nelson on British Columbia Highway 3A.

Upper Bonnington[edit]

The Upper Bonnington Generating Station consists of six hydroelectric units in two adjacent powerhouses, a 15 metre high concrete gravity dam, a powerhouse with two sections, a gated spillway and an overflow spillway. The original powerhouse was built in 1907, upgraded in 1916 and extended again in 1940 for a total rated capacity of 66 MW. The Upper Bonnington Dam is located on the Kootenay River, approximately 17 km (11 mi) downstream of Nelson. Also at the same Bonnington Falls location, but on the other side of the river is the City of Nelson Powerhouse in operation since 1907.[7]

Lower Bonnington[edit]

Lower Bonnington power plant in 1925

The Lower Bonnington Dam is composed of a powerhouse behind an intake dam on the right bank of the Kootenay River and a concrete gravity structure approximately 18 meters high. The original dam built in 1897, was a rock-filled timber crib dam, which straddled the right side of the river upstream of the lower Bonnington Falls at this site.[8] The dam was demolished and replaced with a larger structure in 1924 with a new plant including three units increasing aggregate generating capacity to 54 MW, it was reconstructed in 1964.[9] The Lower Bonnington Dam is located on the Kootenay River approximately 18 km southwest of Nelson.

South Slocan[edit]

The South Slocan Dam was commissioned in 1928 and has an aggregate generating capacity of 54 MW. The South Slocan Dam is located on the Kootenay River, near South Slocan, 20 km south west of Nelson on British Columbia Highway 3A.

FortisBC Energy Inc. offerings[edit]

FortisBC (natural gas) is the largest distributor of natural gas in British Columbia, serving over 940,000 customers in the Lower Mainland (Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley), Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, and the Interior of the province from the U.S. border to Chetwynd, B.C. The company also serves the northern community of Fort Nelson, B.C.

It operates approximately 48,000 km of pipelines, 11 compressor stations, and a liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in Delta, B.C. The distribution network also includes several underwater pipeline crossings, including under the Columbia and Fraser rivers and the Strait of Georgia.

The company’s newest natural gas pipeline, the Whistler Pipeline, was built in conjunction with the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project, which was completed for the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The pipeline falls mainly within the highway right of way and brings natural gas to the Resort Municipality of Whistler, which was formerly served by propane.

Mt. Hayes storage facility[edit]

FortisBC completed construction on its new liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in June 2011. The facility is located west of Mt. Hayes on Vancouver Island, approximately 6 km northwest of Ladysmith.

The site, which consists of approximately 42.7 hectares, was favoured by the community and public opinions gathered at open house sessions. The pipeline to the FortisBC mainline will not significantly affect local property or cross any streams or rivers.

The Mt. Hayes storage facility has capacity to store 1.5 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas.

Alternative energy services[edit]

FortisBC (natural gas) develops and operates geoexchange and district energy systems. Projects include Dockside Green, Victoria, and Athlete's Village, Whistler. Dockside Green is set to be North America’s first greenhouse gas neutral community.[10]

District energy systems[edit]

District energy systems produce steam, hot water, or chilled water at a central plant, and then pipe that energy into buildings in the district for space heating, domestic hot water heating and air conditioning. There are various potential energy sources: geoexchange, biomass, sewer, and landfill gas.


The earth absorbs and stores heat from the sun. This stored energy can then be used in geoexchange heating and cooling systems. Fluid is circulated to absorb heat from the surrounding soil or ground water, which is then concentrated and transferred to the building to provide space and hot water heating.

In hot weather the process is reversed with the loop carrying heat away from the building and into the ground where it is stored in the earth. FortisBC (natural gas) builds, owns and operates geoexchange systems for multi-residential, commercial, and industrial developments. Projects include: Flatiron, Vancouver, Waterstone Pier, Richmond, and Wakefield Beach, Sechelt.[11]


Biomass power plants use wood and wood by-products from forestry and sawmills, methane from landfills, and animal manure from farms, to generate energy. Like geoexchange, biomass systems can provide both heat and power. In the simplest method of converting biomass into energy, organic matter is burned in a boiler to make steam, which then turns a turbine. The turbine is connected to a generator that produces electricity.

Heat generated in the process can be distributed to multiple nearby buildings for heating and hot water. As biomass decomposes naturally, it releases carbon dioxide. Modern techniques for burning biomass result in no net increase in carbon dioxide.

FortisBC (natural gas) and the City of Quesnel have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to conduct feasibility work on the Quesnel Community Energy System, a biomass system that will use waste heat and leftover residues from milling at West Fraser Timber’s Quesnel sawmill to generate both heat and electricity. The feasibility work will be conducted in cooperation with the City of Quesnel, FortisBC Energy Inc., West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. and BC Hydro.[12]

Renewable natural gas (biogas)[edit]

Renewable natural gas is produced when organic material from sources such as landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, agriculture and industry decomposes. When it is cleaned and upgraded, it is called biomethane.

In June 2011, FortisBC (natural gas) launched its renewable gas product offering for residential customers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Interior and the Kootenays. Eligible customers now have the option of designating 10 per cent of their household’s natural gas usage as renewable natural gas. FortisBC will then inject an equivalent amount of renewable natural gas into its distribution system from local renewable natural gas projects. Customers will be subscribed on a first-come, first-served basis, for about an additional $4 per month, based on an average annual consumption of 95 gigajoules (GJs).

Conservation programs[edit]

Energy efficiency and conservation (natural gas)[edit]

In April 2009, FortisBC (natural gas) started the implementation of a $41.5 million energy-efficiency and conservation program after receiving approval from the BCUC to use those funds from 2009 to 2010.[13] In November 2009, the BCUC approved an extension of the program through the end of 2011 and increased allowed expenditures by approximately $38.5 million.

Residential customers have the opportunity to benefit from equipment upgrade offers for appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces.

Commercial customers have the opportunity to benefit from offers for retrofits of existing boilers with more efficient models, for efficient water heaters, for super-efficient building design and for building re-commissioning, among other programs.

PowerSense (electricity)[edit]

FortisBC PowerSense is committed to helping customers conserve energy and get the most out of their energy dollar by providing both financial incentives and advice on energy efficient technologies and practices.

FortisBC’s PowerSense programs are available to FortisBC customers, and also customers of the following municipal utilities: Grand Forks, Kelowna, Penticton, Summerland and Nelson Hydro.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Terasen Gas to be known as FortisBC effective March 1, 2011
  2. ^ [1] Downstream Today, July 28, 2010
  3. ^ Xebec to Build Biogas Plant for Terasen, [2] Downstream Today, July 28, 2010
  4. ^ "Terasen Gas to be known as FortisBC effective March 1, 2011 (press release)". FortisBC Inc. and Terasen Gas. February 23, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Fortis, B.C. government split bill for $900-million Waneta Dam expansion". Business in Vancouver. August 26, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Hunter, Chantal. [3] Natural Energy, February, 2010
  11. ^ Geoexchange Systems,Terasen Gas [4]
  12. ^ Gilson, John. [5] Energy Management, July 10, 2010
  13. ^ Terasen Gas [6] April 22, 2009.

External links[edit]