Union Gas/Enbridge looking for steep rate hike
This winter hasn’t only been long, cold and miserable. It’s about to get extremely costly.
Natural Gas giants Enbridge and Union Gas have asked the Ontario Energy Board to grant them respective increases of 40 and 28%. In Enbridge’s case, the hike would cost homeowners an extra $400 a year. The increase would be roughly $190 for Union Gas customers.
The two energy giants have asked the Ontario Energy Board to allow the hikes to take place in the spring because, they say, they need to increase reserves.
“We’ve needed to buy more gas than normal on the open market where prices have been very high,” Enbridge said on its website. “We do not make a profit on the price of natural gas, you pay what we pay. The rates we’ve applied for reflect the higher prices for natural gas this winter.”
Union Gas noted the rate increase merely reflects the market prices that the company will have to pay to its own suppliers.
The increases will prove particularly hard on fixed-income consumers who may now be struggling with the cost of heating their homes.
In an interview with Toronto Sun’s Shawn Jeffords, Consumer Advocate and Liberal MP Dan McTeague noted: the increase will likely end up being more by the time distribution, storage and taxes are factored in. The increase will ripple through the economy, resulting in increased food prices and hurting businesses, he said.
“People are using energy to keep themselves warm. It seems to me that the federal and provincial governments ought to re-think the strategy of taxing it when we see these hyper increases that are about to hit us at the beginning of April.”
McTeague said he has been warning for months that sharp increases were a possibility. Neither the federal and provincial governments gave consumers any indication this could happen.