FortisBC (and its subsidiary distributor Tarasen Gas, now FortisBC Energy Inc.) is the largest private energy utility company in British Columbia, and in the whole of Canada. FortisBC provides natural gas services to more than 920,000 customers served throughout B.C. via 47,500 kilometres of transmission and distribution pipelines.
The utility also provides electricity services to more than 110,000 customers in B.C., and sells electricity to city utilities which serve another 50,000 customers.In addition, FortisBC is the owner and operator of more than 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution lines.
FortisBC does not set its own electricity and natural gas rates. The company is regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), which is responsible for setting energy rates, as well as service quality standards.
The History of FortisBC & Tarasen Gas
The foundation of FortisBC’s electrical operations was laid with the founding of the Newfoundland Electric Light Company Limited—later renamed the St. John’s Electric Light Company—in May 1885, in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Within six months, Newfoundland Electric had built a power station and developed a fledgling transmission grid that powered both public street lamps and lights installed in businesses owned by the company’s clientele.
A series of acquisitions and consolidations resulted in the incorporation of the Newfoundland Light and Power Company in 1924, and over subsequent decades grew beyond the city limits of St. John’s. In 1966, Newfoundland Light and Power acquired United Towns Electric and the Union Electric Light and Power Company.
Up until the early 1980s, Newfoundland Light and Power operated as a regulated public utility. But in 1987, the company created Fortis, Inc, a holding company, to own the assets of NLP.
In the early 2000s, Fortis expanded into British Columbia by purchasing assets owned by Aquila Networks Canada (which had purchased West Kootenay Power and Light Company only a few years prior).
The history of FortisBC’s natural gas operations are similarly complex. In 1951, Inland Natural Gas was founded to meet the natural gas needs of communities throughout the interior of British Columbia. To accomplish this, the company acquired a number of small natural gas production and transmission companies.
In the 1980s, the company purchased natural gas infrastructure from BC Hydro and renamed itself BC Gas. With its newest acquisition, the company had grown to serve more than half a million customers in the province. With a new series of major acquisitions in the early 2000s—including Centra Gas BC—the company rebranded as Terasen Inc. in 2003.
In 2007, Fortis Inc. acquired Terasen, and four years later consolidated its various natural gas operations under a single company, Fortis BC Energy Inc.