North Island MLA Claire Trevena (Supplied by Claire Trevena)
North Island MLA, Claire Trevena, is welcoming a new bill that will force transparency among oil and gas companies.
The provincial government introduced Bill 42, The Fuel Price Transparency Act yesterday.
It looks to build a mandatory reporting framework for companies that supply gasoline and diesel in B.C.
That includes a reporting schedule on things like refined fuel imports and exports, volume, source, destination and mode of transport, refinery and terminal volumes, and wholesale and retail prices.
Companies that don’t report the data would face fines or administrative penalties.
Trevena, who is also B.C.’s Minister of transportation and Infrastructure, believes people will “feel some relief” by this legislation.
“I know that everyone is incredibly frustrated as they see gas prices go up (because) it’s a long weekend or for whatever apparent reason, but I think that people also feel ripped off,” she said.
The act was developed in response to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) investigation that found a 10- to 13-cent-per-litre premium being charged to drivers that the industry was unable to explain during its inquiry.
This unexplained premium results in British Columbians paying an extra $490 million every year.
Trevena believes Bill 42 will send a message to gas and diesel companies.
“This is really an opportunity to let the oil and gas companies know that they can’t carry on doing it in secret, we’ve got to know why we end up paying a premium, and (with) these fluctuating process.”
She is also confident oil and gas companies will feel the pressure with the introduction of this bill.
“They should be really doing the right thing,” she said. “They should be explaining to people just why gas costs as much as it does. This will, hopefully, put some pressure on those companies who now have to be transparent, to be transparent so that people filling up at the pumps know just why the cost is as it is.”
Trevena is hopeful that the legislation will pass.
“It is now being debated. We hope that it will go forward, we hope that we will get all party support on this, because people across the province no matter what political party, can see how they are being effectively being ripped off the pumps, they can see that there is no transparency.”
The government says the act sets rules for audits and inspections to ensure that the data being reported is complete and accurate.
The information that is reported to the government will then be made public, including confidential material, if releasing that data is determined to benefit the public more than it would harm the fuel companies’ business interests.
Trevena anticipates that the legislation will be law by the end of November.