UPDATE - ON: Two new developments on natural gas expansion projects
Over the past two years, the CPA has monitored, intervened at, and reported upon applications and decisions of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) by natural gas providers on expansion projects in the province. The CPA continues to press government and regulators to reject natural gas expansion projects not supported by viable business cases.
There have been two new developments on this file which members should be aware of:
First, Enbridge Gas has withdrawn its application for approval of a new 10-kilometre, 48-inch diameter natural gas pipeline across rural Hamilton. In a letter sent to the OEB in late October, 2020, the company cites reduced customer demand due to the pandemic as its reason for not needing to move ahead with the project. The company indicated it will reassess customer demand in 2021 and bring a new application to the OEB for approval “as sufficient need can be confirmed in the future.”
Community groups and environmental advocates decried the pipeline, which would have gone through environmentally sensitive swamps and creeks.
Second, in October 2020, the OEB issued a decision approving Enbridge’s application to add a number of new charges to current and new customers. The Board approved the establishment of harmonized charges across all of Enbridge Gas’s rate zones, “to provide a predictable rate and approach to customer payments for expansion projects.”
The OEB also ordered Enbridge Gas Inc. to file a draft Rate Order for each zone by November 16, 2020, with intervenors and OEB staff submitting comments by November 23, 2020. Enbridge Gas Inc. is expected to respond to these comments by November 30, 2020.
The CPA will provide input into Enbridge’s draft rate order as needed and continue to inform members of further developments on natural gas expansion projects in the province. The CPA continues to ask members to forward any materials illustrating poor marketing practices by natural gas providers in their communities to Ontario Government Relations Director, Marcelline Riddell, firstname.lastname@example.org.