UPDATE – ON: CPA requests Premier Ford to reconsider support of uneconomic natural gas projects
On June 9, 2021, the Government of Ontario announced 28 new projects in 43 Ontario communities will be funded through the Natural Gas Expansion Program’s second phase, which allocates more than $234 million to support approximately 8,750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities. Enbridge Gas will deliver 27 of the projects, while EPCOR is responsible for the Brockton project in southwestern Ontario. Construction will begin in summer 2021, on some, with others extending into 2025.
In response to this announcement, the CPA demanded Premier Ford to reconsider the government’s policy and financial support of uneconomic natural gas expansion projects. In a letter sent June 9, 2021, President and CEO, Nathalie St-Pierre, stressed that… “Ontario communities should have real options for clean and affordable energy, not one that is chosen because costs are hidden or subsidized. Such market interference may result in less choice and fewer accompanying local employment opportunities… Propane businesses do not ask for government handouts, but our members expect our representatives to provide the public with an accurate portrayal of our service offering to help inform their decisions.”
Bill 32, the Access to Natural Gas Act, 2018, created a ratepayer funded cross-subsidization Natural Gas Expansion Support Program in Ontario. Ontario Regulation 24/19, Expansion of Natural Gas Distribution Systems, requires that rate-regulated natural gas distributors charge each of their customers a rate of $1/month (for each account that the customer has with the natural gas provider) to fund these expansion projects.
Phase two projects were announced in the following communities: Bobcaygeon, Boblo Island, Burk’s Falls, Caledon (Humber Station), Cedar Springs, Chute-á-Blondeau, East Gwillimbury (North and East), Eganville, Glendale Subdivision, Grimsby-Lincoln, Haldimand Shores, Hamilton Airport Regional Expansion, Hidden Valley (Huntsville), Kenora District (highway 594), Lanark and Balderson, Merrickville-Wolford, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation, Neustadt, Perth East (Brunner), Prince Edward County (Cherry Valley), Red Rock First Nation (Lake Helen Reserve), Sandford, Selwyn, Severn (Washago), St. Charles, Stanley’s Old Maple Farm, and Tweed.
The CPA will continue to lobby the government for fair treatment for propane providers and advocate for full disclosure of all project costs to ensure sound consumer choice is afforded. Members will be informed of any updates on this file as they occur.