ICBA along with the Mechanical Contractors Association of B.C., HRAI and Ameresco formed the Coalition for Open Competition and came forward to oppose Fortis BC’s attempts to broaden their gas distribution monopoly and compete unfairly in the heating and air conditioning market. The Coalition’s voice was heard.
The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) came down firmly on the side of competition. They rejected Fortis BC’s application to expand its business into mechanical contracting. Fortis BC’s application would allow their work to be regulated by guaranteed pricing. This would extend their monopoly and hurt the small businesses in this market.
Although the decision is a culmination of three years of regulatory hearings and public consultations, it is a clear and resounding reaffirmation of the principle that competition should always be preferred over regulation.
The BCUC is to be commended on this decision. They also deserve applause for establishing principles that guide them in determining when regulation is necessary and when it is not. In this case, those principles guided them.
We will encourage the Government of B.C. to approve the decision.