Centra Gas customers to see price increase

As of Monday, Centra Gas customers will see a 2.3 per cent increase in their natural gas bills after Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board approved an application from the company on Jan. 29.

Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) has approved a request by Centra Gas Manitoba to increase its current primary gas rate from .0832 cents per cubic meter to .0909 cents per cubic meter as of Friday, Feb. 1. The rate increase is expected to bump the billing of an average residential customer by about 2.3 per cent or $16 per year.

The rate increase has been set on an interim basis.

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Customers who have signed a fixed-term, fixed-price contract with Centra Gas or a private broker have not been affected by the price increase. Specific information regarding the hike have been withheld from the public by PUB, suggesting that doing so is in the public interest.

Centra gas sells primary gas to Manitoba customers without a markup. The cost of the natural gas is primarily determined by the value in the Western Canadian market. The primary gas rates are reviewed on a quarterly basis, with the next review occurring May 1.

“Centra’s primary gas rate is based on futures prices at AECO, a major gas trading hub in Alberta,” said PUB documents announcing the price increase application’s results.

“As part of its application to the Board, Centra submitted that the public disclosure of parts of its primary gas cost forecast and primary gas PGVA balances could result in undue financial loss to Centra and its ratepayers, and undermine Centra’s negotiating position for commodity, transportation and storage services.”

Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board is a tribunal and regulator for a variety of public utilities that operates at arm’s length from the provincial government.

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