Ontario expanding access to natural gas in the north

Wynne government looks to cut consumer costs as it facing growing anger of electricity rates.

January 31, 2017   by Allison Jones

TORONTO — Ontario is putting $100 million toward expanding natural gas access in the province’s north to cover some of the rural and northern communities.

About 75% of Ontario households heat with natural gas, and residents in communities without access often have to heat their homes with more expensive sources such as electricity, oil or propane.

The government estimates that switching from electricity to natural gas could save consumers $1,500 a year, while switching from oil to natural gas could save the average consumer $1,100 a year.

As the Liberal government faces rising anger over high electricity bills it has been looking for ways to cut consumers’ costs, particularly in rural Ontario where bills are highest.

The government had earlier proposed establishing a $200-million natural gas access loan program and a $30-million grant, but municipalities called for just a grant program instead.

The $100-million grant, with money coming from an infrastructure fund, will see municipalities and First Nations communities work with utilities and natural gas distributors to make proposals starting this spring.

The government says that giving more communities access to natural gas will “attract new industry, make commercial transportation and agriculture more affordable, provide a cleaner source of energy and reduce costs.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a speech to the Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference that creating more energy options for people in rural areas will save them money.

“Electricity costs money, no one is disputing that, but every month, people in our communities are struggling to cover the total cost on their bills,” she said.

“We must go forward in a way that is fair for them. That is the path we are on, and we will take our next steps before the spring budget.”

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown told the same conference that the announcement seemed like a re-announcement and he believes the Liberal government doesn’t actually believe in natural gas.

“Let me say very clearly and let me be unequivocal on this: that the Ontario PC Party supports natural gas expansion,” he said. “And we are tired of waiting.”

Print this page

Related Stories

1 Comment » for Ontario expanding access to natural gas in the north
  1. Kent says:

    Getting people off electricity and onto natural gas is going to do 2 things: Increase the amount those people pay into the carbon tax scam and drive up the cost of electricity for everyone else.

    This is not rocket science (Though you would think it is…). Natural gas is subject to carbon tax. Higher cost. More money into the pit.

    Less people using electricity means less consumption to cover the same costs, therefore higher net cost for the remaining consumption. It happens every time….

    Anyone who doesn’t understand this is either a Liberal cabinet member, an idiot, or both.

    We’d be better off to take our money and burn it in the old coal plants.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *