B.C. natural gas users pay carbon tax at a rate of $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. (Flickr)

B.C. natural gas users pay carbon tax at a rate of $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions. (Flickr)

B.C. carbon tax now costs more than natural gas it is charged on

Price slump continues as hopes raised for LNG exports

A tax increase and a continued slump in the price of natural gas means B.C. customers are paying more for carbon tax than they are for the gas they use.

B.C.’s carbon tax on fossil fuels went up April 1 for the first time since 2013, increasing the charge for natural gas as well as gasoline, diesel, coal and other carbon-based fuels. That coincides with the lowest price of natural gas in more than a decade.

“Natural gas is extremely affordable right now, which is why we’re seeing the carbon tax outpace the cost of gas,” said Sean Beardow, manager of corporate communications for B.C. gas utility FortisBC.

The carbon tax increase doesn’t sit well with Chilliwack resident Wayne Dance, who keeps a close watch on his energy use and sees no viable alternative for natural gas heating.

“We try to do the right thing and two years ago spent more than $5,000 on a new high-efficiency furnace and water heater, which saves a little on our gas bill but not anywhere near enough to recover our costs,” Dance said.

B.C.’s carbon tax is charged on the amount of emission, whatever the price of fuels. This year’s increase, imposed a year earlier than the NDP proposed as a condition of the B.C. Green Party supporting their minority government, brings the carbon tax to $35 a tonne of carbon dioxide or equivalent emissions.

The price of B.C. natural gas has fallen in recent years, as supplies have surged from shale gas development in northeast B.C. As the U.S., Australia and other producers have developed shale deposits and begun exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia, B.C. has seen demand decline for its only export market, the U.S., as pipeline development to the coast has stalled.

Premier John Horgan said this week he is hopeful that a long-sought LNG terminal investment will be made. LNG Canada, an international consortium including Shell and including Malaysian giant Petronas and other Asian investors, is close to a final investment decision on a terminal at Kitimat.

RELATED: All 20 B.C. First Nations agree to gas pipeline route

RELATED: NDP offers new tax breaks to B.C. LNG producers

The NDP government surprised many of its supporters and critics in March, announcing it was doing away with the B.C. Liberal government’s LNG income tax on producers and offering a break on provincial sales tax for construction.

“We were approached by the LNG sector, not just LNG Canada, with a series of challenges they had with respect to their competitiveness, based on the program that the Liberals put in place when they started talking about LNG back in 2011,” Horgan said Tuesday.

“And we have dismantled that package and put forward a new package that’s hopefully going to meet the competitive needs and treating LNG like any other investor. Whether you’re coming to invest in the forest industry, in the mining industry, we want to treat everybody exactly the same.”

Horgan noted gas royalty revenues to the province would increase after a decline in sales and price, helping with health care, education and other rising costs faced by the B.C. government.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturecarbon tax

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

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Most Read