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ONTARIO: We are Fighting on your Behalf

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With the Ontario government’s announcement of over $100 million to support the expansion of natural gas networks, the government determined that it would use taxpayers’ money and give natural gas companies an unfair advantage.

As you are aware, we have been arguing on your behalf that utilities should not be allowed to make existing natural gas customers responsible for costs associated with expanding into new areas. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) agreed with us, after holding a series of hearings to establish principles to guide costs associated with expanding natural gas services.

In its November 2016 decision, the OEB stated that it would not be appropriate for existing customers to pay for costs associated with expanding natural gas services. Without subsidies, estimated energy savings for customers are reduced and in practice, this should translate into fewer incentives for them to switch to natural gas. Without subsidies, utilities are less inclined to build networks.

Recently, Union Gas submitted an expansion proposal to serve the communities of Milverton, Prince Township, Lambton Shores, the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation and the Delaware Nation of Moraviantown First Nation. Union Gas is also interested in expanding into Augusta Township.

On your behalf, we continue to intervene before the Energy Board to uphold a level playing field for our industry.

The current request from Union Gas was submitted under these new OEB guidelines. On June 21, 2017, the CPA submitted that the proposal does not comply with the guidelines on several counts. Amongst others, Union proposes that all customers across the province, not just those affected by the expansion, take on the financial risk of lower than forecast connections after a 10-year period. This is not, in our view, in accordance with the decision that indicated only new customers and Union itself should bear the entire financial risk of each project.

We will keep you posted on further expansion submissions and on the OEB decision as information becomes available. In the meantime, we will be circulating more information and key messages to support you locally, which emphasize that:
  1. All Ontarians need affordable, low-emission energy.
  2. Natural gas, where economically viable, is a beneficial energy source for Ontario, particularly with electricity costs being so high. However, propane is the best solution in many cases, and for numerous reasons.
  3. While other energy options require large-scale infrastructure spending or further technological development, propane is ready to go today.
  4. Expanding the natural gas network requires massive infrastructure investments and only newly connected customers should pay for these costs.
  5. If these costs are paid for by the government, it means that all taxpayers are supporting subsidies to expand natural gas.
  6. The propane industry creates local jobs, invests in local communities and supports the local economy.
  7. Propane is perfect for applications as diverse as heating commercial and residential buildings, fuelling vehicles, drying crops, etc.
  8. And best of all, propane is very affordable and has low greenhouse gas emissions.
Click here to view CPA’s recent submission to the OEB.

 

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