he BC Utilities Commission has OK’d Fortis’ request for common natural gas rates across the province.

It’s the final step after years of negotiations between Fortis, the province, and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities.

Fortis’ Neal Pobran says they can now start reducing rates for customers on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

The changes also open the way for local governments in the Island – Coastal region to start collecting franchise fees from Fortis. It will mean tens of thousands of dollars a year for smaller communities and more than a half a million a year in bigger cities like Nanaimo.