VANCOUVER -- Some British Columbians will soon be paying more for natural gas as the provider prepares for a price hike in the new year.

Starting Jan. 1, customers in Metro Vancouver will see an increase of about eight per cent. Based on the usage at an average home, that's about $6 per month.

The same increase also applies to residents of the rest of the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Whistler, Vancouver Island, the Interior and the Kootenays.

Customers in Fort Nelson will pay about five per cent more, FortisBC said in a news release this week.

The utility attributes the increase to the rising costs of transportation, storage and delivery.

"We understand that energy costs are an important decision in household budgets, and that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have unprecedented impacts on many of our customers," FortisBC vice-president of regulatory affairs Diane Roy said.

"I want all of our customers to know that they are our primary focus. If any customer needs support with their bills, please call us and we’ll work with you to find a solution."

While much of the province will be paying more for natural gas, customers who use propane are likely to pay less, Fortis said.

Residents of Revelstoke can expect to pay about 36 per cent, or around $350, less for fuel in 2021.