By Anthony Capkun
December 6, 2012 – FortisBC says it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the B.C. First Nations Energy & Mining Council (FNEMC) making energy self-sufficiency for First Nations communities a priority. It is the first time a privately held energy company has signed such an agreement, says FortisBC.
“This is a first-of-its-kind agreement that will strengthen the relationship between FortisBC and B.C. First Nations,” said Doug Stout, vice-president, energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC. “It gives us the opportunity to work with B.C. First Nations to optimize energy delivery to communities throughout the province, resulting in energy efficiency.”
Under the terms of the agreement, FNEMC and FortisBC agree to cooperate to develop energy opportunities for B.C. First Nations communities, including increasing energy efficiency on First Nation land and paving the way to hire a certified energy auditor to assist communities with energy efficiency programs. Approximately $100,000 annually will be earmarked to go toward conservation efforts.
“We are very excited to be working with FortisBC, since this is the first time B.C. First Nations have signed an agreement with a private energy company,” said Dave Porter, chief executive officer for First Nations Energy and & Mining Council.
Major highlights of the agreement include:
• Open and honest communication throughout all aspects of working together.
• Agreement that the consent of First Nations must be obtained before developing projects and activities affecting their communities.
• Working with the Canadian and provincial governments to develop policy and implement solutions affecting First Nations’ energy issues.
• Helping the B.C. government meet its environmental and energy goals for the future.
• Monitoring and evaluation energy program and policy effectiveness.
• Undertaking First Nations community relations and communications programs to inform First Nation’s leadership of energy developments.