Optimal solution?

Section: 
Letter

On behalf of Union Gas, I’d like to thank area residents for attending our Southern Bruce County Expansion Proposal community information sessions held recently in Chesley, Lucknow and Kincardine. Our team enjoyed the opportunity to meet members of the community and share in-person information about our natural gas proposal, our history and the natural gas industry.

As you may know, natural gas is by far the most affordable and reliable source of energy for homes and businesses. In fact, Union Gas customers continue to pay the lowest natural gas rates of any utility in Ontario. In Southern Bruce County however, as in many rural Ontario communities, there is a significant cost as well as regulatory barriers to build the pipeline system to your community. What you might not know is that any company seeking to build natural gas infrastructure in Ontario requires the approval of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and is subject to the same regulations as Union Gas.

The good news is that now, after more than three years of Union Gas leading efforts to build support with provincial policymakers and other stakeholders, the OEB is undertaking a public hearing to develop a new regulatory framework for expanding access to natural gas across Ontario.

Union Gas is proud to be the first and only utility to have submitted a publicly-available community expansion proposal to enable access to natural gas for rural and First Nations communities across Ontario, including Southern Bruce County.

Our proposal includes:

 * A temporary new customer surcharge of 23 cents per cubic meter of gas used, which equates to approximately $500 per year for up to 10 years on a typical residential bill.

* Temporary municipal contributions (equivalent to the property taxes we would pay on the new pipelines) for up to 10 years.

* A maximum contribution of $2 per month from existing natural gas customers.

* No financial subsidies required from the provincial government.

Our proposal would close the economic shortfall through a balance of contributions from new and existing customers and municipalities in a way that homeowners and business would realize significant savings. It would also enable 33 additional communities to be served without the requirement for additional government funding.

With the Union Gas proposal, the community would benefit from being served by an established Ontario-based company with over 100 years of proven experience in providing safe and reliable natural gas service to its customers and the lowest natural gas rates in Ontario.

We believe we have the optimal solution for Ontario communities and we will be rigorously advocating for it through the OEB hearing process. For more information on our company or our proposal and how it can benefit your community, please visit uniongas.com/communityexpansion. To view our proposal in its entirety, visit ontarioenergyboard.ca, Case #EB-2015-0179.

Murray Costello, P. Eng.,
District Manager, Union Gas