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Natural gas rates rising

Homes heated by natural gas face a sharp rate increase due to rising commodity prices.

The typical Terasen Gas customer will pay 11 per cent more, or about $130 extra over the course of a year, if regulators approve the company’s rate hike request.

The increase would take effect April 1 and would be the second recent jump in gas bills since January, when a four per cent increase took effect.

The new rate for the natural gas commodity cost (which does not include other administration and delivery charges) is to be $8.29 per gigajoule, up from $7.66 at this time last year.

Only homes that stayed with Terasen as their gas seller get that fluctuating rate.

Many B.C. residents signed on to long-term contracts last year with rival independent gas marketers that guaranteed them price stability –

Terasen officials say the colder than usual winter temperatures in eastern North America have drawn down natural gas supplies, prompting prices to rise.

The rate hike applies in the Lower Mainland and most of the rest of mainland B.C.

Motorists are also feeling the bite of higher fuel prices at the pumps. Gasoline prices in Vancouver have climbed to nearly $1.20 per litre –

Analysts are forecasting the peak summer driving period will push gas prices up to at least $1.30 per litre, but much higher prices than that are unlikely because of dampening demand as the U.S. economy tips into recession.

Although oil has doubled in price in just over a year, Canadians have been largely shielded from the impact because the Canadian dollar has also risen against the U.S. greenback –

jnagel@surreyleader.com

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