The Ontario government is supporting a program designed to expand access to natural gas to more parts of rural and northern Ontario, as well as First Nations communities. Natural gas is the most common heating source in Ontario and is more affordable than other sources like electricity, oil or propane.
“The Natural Gas Expansion Support Program will help businesses in rural and Northern Ontario, including First Nations, cut energy costs, improve their competitiveness and attract more investment,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “It will also help expand the natural gas distribution network to households, making life more affordable for families.”
Currently, about 3.5 million homes and 130,000 businesses in Ontario use natural gas. Switching from propane, electric heat or oil to natural gas can save an average residential customer between $800 and $2,500 a year, estimates show.
The program has been designed to help the private sector expand access to natural gas for up to 78 new communities in Ontario. That means approximately 33,000 new households in Ontario could potentially save up to $2,500 per year in energy costs.
For instance, the provincial government recently repeated its promise to provide Enbridge Gas with more than $6 million to help bring natural gas to Scugog Island.
It’s estimated the project could assist 810 customers — 780 homes and 30 businesses — on Scugog Island, which was named as one of the first recipients of the natural gas expansion program after receiving approval from the Ontario Energy Board.
The Ontario government has also selected Chatham-Kent and Bruce County as regions which will receive expanded natural gas access. In Chatham-Kent, construction could begin this summer and will include two new transmission pipelines. Once completed, up to 1,300 homes and 200 businesses could benefit from this project.
The Bruce County program will bring natural gas to several surrounding communities including Chesley, Paisley, Kincardine and Lucknow. “This is an important announcement for the region,” said Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce. “Local farmers and businesses deserve to have access to affordable natural gas to heat their homes, barns and facilities.” The Bruce County project will bring natural gas to about 12,000 homes, farms and businesses.
Additional projects that are ready to move forward may be eligible to receive funding under the new natural gas access program, subject to regulatory approval from the Ontario Energy Board.
Programs like the Natural Gas Expansion Support Program are aimed at controlling rising energy costs in Ontario, at the residential and the business level.
As a result of those rising costs, there is a growing need in the marketplace for companies to provide customized energy management solutions. Firms like Active Business Services work to effectively manage Canada natural gas and elecrtricity costs by providing tailored procurement strategies to meet the business needs of commercial and industrial clients.
Higher energy costs have become a fact of life for most Ontarians. But there are ways to effectively manage those expenses, whether it’s in the home or on the job. Keep on top of government programs designed to control energy costs and make use of companies focused on efficient energy strategies.