FortisBC caught altering a government report

August 18, 2023
Eoin Finn

FortisBC has been caught red-handed altering a government report to protect its bottom line.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

Renewable natural gas is not effective for residential heating.

Electric heat pumps are “six to eight times more efficient than heating with gas.”

These are a few of the recommendations FortisBC deleted from a government report commissioned to inform decisions about the future of gas in B.C.

The report also recommended phasing out natural gas across B.C. by 2050... until that was also deleted by FortisBC.

Natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. In the average B.C. home, 98% of greenhouse gas emissions come from natural gas. As local governments work to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution in our communities, many are considering bans on new natural gas infrastructure. Others are incentivizing homeowners to switch from gas heating to electric heat pumps and induction stoves.

But switching from gas to electricity is a major threat to FortisBC's profits, and the privately-owned utility plans to hook up thousands of new buildings to fracked gas from northeast B.C.

After tampering with the report, FortisBC has been using the altered report to pressure local governments to continue to allow gas connections to new buildings.

“It's very misleading,” said Nanaimo City councillor, Ben Geselbracht. “Omission of information is lying.”

“They're creating the data to support what they want to be heard,” added Richmond councillor, Michael Wolfe.

FortisBC: caught red-handed

FortisBC is a private company that is abusing its position as a public utility to influence climate policies that directly impact their bottom line.

They’re deliberately misleading the public and local governments to prolong our dependence on gas and undermine climate action.

It's clear that FortisBC cannot be trusted. We cannot let the fox guard the henhouse.

Read the excellent two-part investigation by Stefan Labbé from Glacier Media to learn more:

Redacted B.C. gas report sparks claims of misinformation

FortisBC's plan to keep burning gas 'not equitable,' claims B.C. city


How My Sea to Sky helped break this story

We pay very close attention to what FortisBC is up to.

We first discovered the report had been doctored in June 2022 when we ran a comparison, highlighting the key recommendations that were deleted. But why was the report edited nine days after it was published? Why were these particular recommendations removed? Who was responsible?

We started digging.

“Hmmm, that's interesting.” FortisBC is using this report to influence local government decisions related to gas in buildings. Did FortisBC delete these recommendations to protect its profits?

We weren't the only ones asking questions.

In September 2022, the City of Richmond filed a question via the B.C. Utilities Commission asking FortisBC about the edits to this report (see section 16.0).

FortisBC's response was that the removed sentences were “out of scope.”

We compiled all our evidence and we started calling investigative reporters. No one was interested. Until we pitched Stefan Labbé at Glacier Media, who filed a Freedom of Information request and uncovered the emailed instructions from FortisBC to delete key recommendations.

It took more than a year for us to break this story. Now it's public we will keep doing everything we can to hold FortisBC's feet to the fire.



Here's what you can do to hold FortisBC accountable:

1. Sign this petition

We are calling on the BC government to confront the climate emergency by implementing ten urgent climate actions. That includes a planned phase-out of natural gas utilities like FortisBC.


2. Are you a business owner? Sign this open letter

More than 530 organizations, faith groups, labour unions, and businesses have signed an open letter calling on the BC government to confront the climate emergency. Add your business, or ask your community group, faith group, or labour union to sign on.


3. Consider becoming a monthly supporter of My Sea to Sky

We have been holding Woodfibre LNG and FortisBC accountable since 2014, and we rely on the generous donations of people like you to support our work. Please consider signing up as a monthly supporter.



For a liveable planet for all our children.

Eoin Finn

Research Director
My Sea to Sky

P.S. We were about to hit send on this email when we learned that Enbridge (who now owns a 30% stake in Woodfibre LNG) also commissioned a report that erroneously inflated the cost of switching from gas to electricity to heat buildings by $140 billion dollars. Both FortisBC and Enbridge are trying to lock in more fossil fuel infrastructure to protect their profits by fudging reports and using inflated numbers.

This is truly reprehensible. FortisBC and Enbridge must be held accountable for undermining climate action to lock us into fossil fuels.

Enbridge relied on faulty study to pitch Ontario gas network expansion

Fortis, Enbridge fudge reports, use inflated numbers to hang onto market

My Sea to Sky is incredibly proud and grateful to say that we rely on the My Sea to Sky community for small donations that provide the majority of our funding. Since our launch in 2014, we have been funded through personal savings, family and friends; and powered by the passion of our volunteers. Your generous contribution will help us to run our critical campaigns to defend, protect, and restore Howe Sound. Can you chip in?