VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – British Columbians won’t know what the BC Utilities Commissions’ report on high gas prices will find until at least the end of summer.
The BCUC has been asked by the premier to investigate what is driving high, volatile fuel prices across the province.
It says it will be looking into whether price fixing and gouging are behind the high cost at the pump, as well as examining the differences in refining margins between B.C. and the rest of the country.
Gas prices on the Lower Mainland are some of the highest across Canada.
“The rapid increase in gas prices in B.C. is alarming, increasingly out of line with the rest of Canada, and people in B.C. deserve answers,” Premier John Horgan said. “We asked the BCUC to conduct a fair, transparent and comprehensive independent investigation. These terms provide the broad reach it needs to find answers and give recommendations to inform the path forward.”
As such, the BCUC may compel oil companies to explain their prices to the commission as witnesses.
The commission has also been tasked with looking at the potential of regulatory measures used elsewhere in the country, and even North America, “to enhance transparency about how prices are determined.”
Earlier this month, Horgan said blaming his provincial government for a recent increase to the carbon tax didn’t add up.
“One cent an increase in gas tax should not translate into a 40 cent increase in a cost of a litre of gasoline,” he said.
The premier has also asked the prime minister to use the pipeline the federal government now owns to send more refined product to B.C. from Alberta, and less diluted bitumen.
The BCUC has until August 30 to submit its report.