Welcome to Star Gas
We take great pride in our commitment to the resort, to its residences and businesses and to its many visitors from Canada, the United States and from abroad. We provide a lower cost alternative to other heat sources and do so safely and efficiently. Stargas' pipeline was completed in the fall of 1999; it currently serves 287 residential and commercial customers at Silver Star Resort. If you'd like to discuss any aspect of our operations at Silver Star Resort we'd be delighted to do so.
Stargas Rates: Stargas customers pay three separate charges on their monthly invoices (in addition to various taxes); these include an amount for the gas consumed, a delivery rate, and a monthly basic charge.
Gas consumption: Stargas' current commodity rate, as approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission ("BCUC") in its Order G-158-16 dated October 26, 2016 is $5.28 per gigajoule. Stargas recognizes that there exists concern within the Silver Star community with respect to this rate and provides the following explanation in the hope that ratepayers will better understand the price we and they pay for natural gas.
Because Stargas, as with other utilities, neither earns a profit nor is exposed to a loss in the cost of natural gas, the BCUC approves our annual gas contracting plans, and each and every cost included in the determination of our commodity rates. Stargas, in collaboration with its energy consultant, Independent Energy Consultants, considers available options and seeks to find optimum strategies amongst available alternatives. Stargas understands that some, among the Silver Star community, question why it is that they do not have access to FortisBC Rate 1 available to customers outside the resort boundary. Whether due to volumes or the seasonal nature of consumption at the resort, Silver Star did not meet FortisBC's required metrics so that, Stargas investors did what FortisBC would not, funded Stargas knowing that Silver Star home and business owners would, now over 16 years, enjoy significant savings with natural gas replacing propane. Stargas does have the option of purchasing gas from FortisBC under its Rate 5. A propane user can compare his/her propane cost to our cost (currently $12.21 per gigajoule) by mutliplying his per liter cost by 39.4 - for example, a propane user paying 65 cents per liter would have an equivalent cost of $25.61 per gigajoule.
Stargas achieved significant savings for its customers in each of the two prior fiscal years; in its fiscal year ended May 31, 2016 Stargas paid $67,995 for natural gas; had we purchased from FortisBC under its rate 5, the cost would have been $107,164 - a savings of $39,169 or $.99 per gigajoule. In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2015, Stargas paid $108,063; had we purchased from FortisBC under its rate 5 the cost would have been $166,573 - a savings of $58,510 or $1.61 per gigajoule. In the current fiscal year, to January 31, 2017 Stargas has paid $79,558 for natural gas; had we purchased from FortisBC that cost would have been $69,600. Stargas acknowledges that the savings generated in the two prior years will, it appears, be followed by a modest increase in the fiscal year ending May 31, 2017. However, as FortisBC rate mechanisms lag market movement (rate 5 subject to quarterly adjustment) the current comparison is to be viewed as illustrative but inconclusive. Stargas will introduce a table into its annual report provided the BCUC (and available to ratepayers) contrasting its costs against the FortisBC available alternative.
On February 17th, 2017 Stargas filed an application with the BCUC to vary and extend its current gas contracting plan seeking approval to lock in prices on portions of its winter deliveries for the following two fiscal years. In doing so Stargas would move away for 100% variable pricing by adding fixed price gas. Stargas believes that doing so offers meaningful protection against price increases with only modest exposure to decreases below the price targets it seeking. On March 6th, 2017, BCUC Order E-5-17 the Stargas Application was accepted as filed.
Stargas notes that natural gas markets complex and ever changing and makes no representation that achievement in the two prior fiscal years indicative of future performance.
Delivery Rate: Stargas filed an application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission that, if approved as currently amended, will result in a $.30 decrease of the variable charge for delivery from the current rate of $7.38 to $7.08. The applciation contemplated a refinancing to replace higher cost preferred shares with term bank debt (appoved by the BCUC on December 16th 2017 in Order G-192-16) and a number of changes to the elements and amounts included in its current cost of service calculation including an cost of living increase in previously approved hourly rates for management fees. The application has been the subject of extensive involvement by the Commission, the Silver Star Property Owners Association and the utility; final documentation has been submitted by each of the SSPOA and the utility and a BCUC decision is pending as of the date of this update to the Stargas website (March 8, 2017).
Basic charges: Each customer is charged a fixed monthly amount to contribute to Stargas fixed costs of operations. Three rates are applicable -$15 monthly for residential customers, $25 for small commercial customers (included in that category are residences made available for short-term third party rentals) and $100 monthly for large commercial customers.