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Legislation aims to bring transparency to oil and gas prices in B.C.

Last Updated Nov 18, 2019 at 2:46 pm PST

FILE - Gas prices are displayed as a motorist prepares to pump gas at a station in North Vancouver on May 10, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Legislation introduced Monday afternoon would allow BCUC to collect information from oil and gas companies

They will be expected to share data on fuel imports and exports with safeguards in place

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Oil and gas companies in B.C. could be forced to reveal how they set their prices.

Legislation introduced by the provincial government Monday afternoon would allow the B.C. Utilities Commission to collect information from oil and gas companies on the market conditions involved in setting gas prices.

“It’s incredibly frustrating to watch the price of gas shoot up for no reason, and British Columbians are tired of feeling ripped off whenever they fill up their vehicles,” Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology Bruce Ralston said in a statement. “This legislation sends a message to oil and gas companies: the days of setting your prices in total secrecy have come to an end.”

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The information will be publicly available to consumers and watchdog groups.

The province said the Fuel Price Transparency Act will make companies publicly accountable for unexplained markups and cost increases, which it says cost British Columbians an extra $490 million each year.

Companies will be also expected to share data on fuel imports and exports with safeguards in place.

“By pulling back the curtain, these companies will be publicly accountable for unfair markups and cost increases that cannot be explained,” Ralston said. “It will also produce a common set of facts moving forward, allowing us to properly evaluate other policy measures to bring fairness to the price at the pump.”

The province hopes the release of the information will encourage the competitiveness of the market in B.C.