Council wants gas agreement changes

Cache Creek Council hopes that FortisBC is amenable to a few slight changes in the new Operating Agreement.

Cache Creek Council is wondering how much leeway it has with FortisBC when it comes to the gas company’s latest operating agreement, which has no end date.

The operating agreement is sent to all municipalities for their signature, but instead of signing it, Cache Creek made some small changes at their July 15 meeting and sent it back to the company for acceptance.

“I will admit,” Mayor John Ranta told Council, “that some parts of the agreement caused my eyebrows to raise a little bit.”

The Franchise Agreements between BC Gas and the municipalities extended for 20 years and then came up for renewal. The Term of Agreement in the new 22-page document states: “This Agreement will have a term of 20 years from the date that it comes into effect and after the initial term shall continue indefinitely unless terminated in accordance with Section 15.5 below” which states that the Village must give a year’s notice to terminate.

“I’m not comfortable in binding future councils to an indefinite agreement,” said Ranta. He then proposed some small amendments to the document’s wording that would have it come up for renewal after 20 years.

A future council 20 years from now would negotiate a new agreement rather than have it roll over in perpetuity, he said. Council agreed with his amendments.

“It may result in Fortis saying it’s unacceptable which would result in further conversation with them,” he said.

“The terms and conditions are largely consistent with an agreement signed by 10 municipalities located in the Interior in 2006, which was facilitated by the Union of BC Municipalities, and which has been approved by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC),” administrator Leslie Lloyd told Council.

Cache Creek’s current Franchise Agreement with FortisBC/BC Gas ends at the end of September.

The Operating Agreemet sets out the terms and conditions under which FortisBC Energy Inc. shall exercise its rights to use the public places of the Village of Cache Creek in conducting its business of distributing gas within the municipality and the three per cent operating fee that it pays annually to the Village which is based on the total revenue it receives from customers within Cache Creek.