Burnaby’s residents and businesses receive the entirety of their electricity and natural gas from provincially regulated energy utilities. BC Hydro, the sole distributor of electricity in the province, meets the city’s electricity needs, while FortisBC is Burnaby’s regulated supplier of natural gas.
While residents of British Columbia do not have the ability to purchase electricity from alternative retailers, there are many retailers providing natural gas services in Burnaby. These retail providers include:
Many homeowners and businesses in Burnaby, having relied upon FortisBC for their natural gas for decades, are unaware that they have options. To learn more about Burnaby’s natural gas retailers, which often offer rates lower than the regulated rate, click the links above. You will find information on each company’s history, where available, as well as the residential and commercial natural gas plans they offer. These plans may have fixed rate, variable rate, and fixed cost monthly pricing structures.
To learn what rates are currently available in Burnaby, fill out our convenient rate comparison form.
Burnaby Electricity and Natural Gas History
Incorporated in 1892, Burnaby was named after Robert Burnaby, a legislator and explorer who had surveyed geographical features in the area, including Burnaby Lake.
A slow accumulation of settlers had put down roots as farmers or loggers in the region since the 1860s. But the story of what would be known as Burnaby started in 1887, when an extension of the Canadian Pacific Railway was built between Vancouver and Port Moody. This, in turn, resulted in an increase in traffic between Vancouver and New Westminster. A new tram line was built to connect the two, which happened to run through the sleepy settlement. Lots adjacent to the tracks were auctioned, drawing the attention of settlers and entrepreneurs. A power plant was built in Burnaby, on Griffiths Avenue, to power tram cars on lines built and operates by two electric rail companies, the Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company, and the Westminster Street Railway. These soon consolidated into a single company, the Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company.
By 1891, residents of the region had grown impatient with the fact that the property taxes they paid went to Victoria, rather than funding improvements in their community. They applied for a municipal charter, which was granted in September of 1892. This ensured the taxes paid for Burnaby’s own development, rather than that of the nearby capital.
Within a decade of its incorporation, Burnaby had a municipal hall, two schools, a general store, a post office, and a church. It was with the opening of new municipal hall that interest in electric lighting was raised. A member of the council suggested that the hall could be illuminated with electric lights powered by the Griffiths Avenue plant. An employee of BC Electric, which operated the plant, indicated that the plan wasn’t feasible, and furthermore, would be in violation of the insurance policy covering the building. This was in part because the electricity current generated by the plant was direct current, rather than alternating, and could not be transmitted long distances.
However, over the ensuing decades, the tram lines and railways expanded, improved power plants were built, and the municipality slowly underwent electrification. Burnaby’s population exploded to nearly 13,000 residents by the time of the 1921 census, and that pace hasn’t slowed a century later, with the city boasting more than 230,000 residents.