B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Mandatory reporting requirements are being imposed on wholesale gasoline and diesel fuel suppliers in British Columbia to ensure transparency and accountability on pricing.

Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources, says companies that import, purchase, store and distribute gasoline and diesel to be sold at retail stations must regularly report to the B.C. Utilities Commission.

Each report must include details covering fuel imports, storage capacity, bulk sales and wholesale prices.

Ralston says the reports amount to “pulling back the curtain,” and will ensure the industry is held publicly accountable for unexplained markups and prices increases.

RELATED: B.C. to track gas prices in four B.C. communities this summer

RELATED: Greater Victoria gas prices dip to lows not seen since February 2016

The reporting requirements follow an investigation into fuel prices in B.C., that Ralston says determined the gasoline market is “not truly competitive,” and was responsible for an unexplained 13-cent per litre premium.

B.C. passed the Fuel Price Transparency Act last year and in March the utilities commission was declared the independent administrator of the act, with authority to collect and publish data on fuel pricing in order to promote competition in the market.

“When a company feels that people are looking over your shoulder, they are much more likely to be cautious in advancing unexplained spurts in prices that they were not obliged to explain in the past,” Ralston said during a news conference on Friday.

Submission of the reports will start in October and the data is expected to be available to the public in November.

The utilities commission has also launched a website at gaspricesbc.ca to provide the public with information about factors that influence fuel prices.

This is a process that has been used in Australia, New Zealand, and Washington and Oregon states, said Ralston.

The requested details are already collected by wholesale fuel suppliers so it will not be onerous for them to collect and provide to the B.C. Utilities Commission, Ralston said.

“The step to regulate prices directly is a big step,” he said, noting the New Democrat government is not considering fines or other measures to force lower gas prices.

“What I would like to do is to see how the requirement to publish the wholesale prices works out and what effect it may have on prices and then we will consider whether there are further steps necessary.”

—The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

B.C. snap election: What we know about candidates running in the Nechako Lakes riding

Premier Horgan called for a snap election Monday, Sept. 21.

Vanderhoof’s Anonymous Art Show aims to go Canada-wide next year

The Anonymous Art Show in it’s second year is gaining popularity across… Continue reading

SD91 develops course to explore student identity and diversity

School District 91 has developed a course for grade 8 students that… Continue reading

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Most Read