The government of British Columbia has brought in new legislation to help implement the province’s Fuel Price Transparency Act.
The Fuel Price Transparency Act, or FPTA, “will allow the British Columbia Utilities Commission to collect information from oil and gas companies on the market conditions involved in setting prices,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
On Monday, the Horgan government announced a key step in implementing the FPTA has been taken. Effective immediately, the BCUC has been named as the administrator of the FPTA.
“This step gives the BCUC the power to collect information to hold oil and gas companies accountable,” said Ralston. “British Columbians are tired of feeling gouged at the pump. It’s time to pull back the curtain on fuel pricing.”
The Fuel Price Transparency Act will require companies to submit regular information to the BCUC about the fuel market in British Columbia.
It also gives the BCUC power to make special requests for information outside of the regular reporting schedule. This special information could include refined fuel imports and exports, and fuel volumes at refineries and terminals, as well as wholesale and retail prices.
According to a press release from the BC government, the FPTA was developed in response to the BCUC investigation that found a lack of competition and substantial markups in the province’s gasoline market, including a 10- to 13-cent-per-litre premium being charged to drivers that industry was unable to explain during the BCUC inquiry.
This unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year.
The Horgan government says the FPTA will make companies publicly accountable for unexplained markups and price increases, and produce a common set of facts to help government properly evaluate other policy measures to bring fairness at the pump.
The BC government says it will now engage with the BCUC on further steps in the implementation of the Fuel Price Transparency Act. Work is underway to determine the type and frequency of the information to be collected on a regular reporting schedule through regulation.