British Columbia’s public utilities company Fortis BC is warning Metro Vancouver that if it caves to demands from climate activists to accelerate its transition away from natural gas, taxpayers would be left with increasingly unaffordable energy. 

According to Postmedia, a letter from Fortis vice-president Doug Slater warned Metro chairman George Harvie that banning natural gas from new buildings and adopting fully electric options would hamper consumer choice. 

“Affordability can be a drag on climate objectives,” said Slater.

He called on the government to make decisions “for a diversified approach to our energy systems.” 

According to Slater, such a ban would lead to decreased affordability for energy and create additional pressure on the jurisdiction’s electrical grid. 

One potential solution to reducing emissions could be to buy renewable natural gas from outside of the province. Slater cited a BC Utilities Commission report that found such a route would lead to “significant emissions reductions and help support a more affordable transition to renewable and low-carbon fuels.”

Slater called on the municipality to also study the impact climate transitions would have on consumers. 

Other municipalities in the province have made the drastic decision to ban natural gas from new housing. 

Last year, the province’s capital, Victoria, banned the construction of homes that rely on fossil fuels for heating. 

During consultations, developers and builders argued that the kind of equipment needed to fully move away from gas heating in buildings was not readily available and the city did not have enough access to electricity to justify the ban. 

Victoria councilors have also called for the city to ban gas ovens in rezoned developments.