How much will it cost if Ontario makes you kiss your gas furnace goodbye?
A gas furnace in a Toronto home (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)
The ambitious climate change initiative proposed by Environment Minister Glen Murray and exposed by the Globe and Mail is bound to come with a hefty bill, critics caution.
Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton said the plan, which calls for the eventual elimination of natural gas as a home heating option in favour of electricity, is nothing less than a “radical” government intrusion into people’s homes.
“It’s going to cost families a minimum of $3,000 per year if they move forward with the plan to ban natural gas,” McNaughton said. “And it means that up to 100,000 auto jobs are at risk if the government moves forward with its plan to dramatically shift the auto industry.”
And since the provincial government runs the electricity system, it also undermines its main competitor in the energy sector.
McNaughton said he’s heard from natural gas companies that planned expansion in Ontario could be put on hold due to the revelations.
The Globe reported that Ontario has a $7-billion plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by moving all homes over to electric heating by 2050, and putting electric cars in people’s driveways among other initiatives.
The plan would set out how the government intends to spend the money it will raise with its cap-and-trade initiative, a system that puts a price on carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and that will drive up the cost of many things including gasoline and diesel.
The government has not flat out denied the plan, but some ministers appeared to be distancing themselves this week from the gas-fired furnace fiasco.
McNaughton said a survey he launched in his own riding drew 3,000 signatures in short order opposing a mandated switch to electrical heat.
“There’s a lot of division within the Liberal ranks right now,” McNaughton said of the Liberal hedging. “I think cabinet is divided.”
David Mullock, a spokesman for Murray, said in an email that cap-and-trade proceeds will be spent in a transparent and accountable way.
“The Act also requires the government to prepare a Climate Change Action Plan, detailing a timetable for each action, the potential emission reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the action, and an assessment of the cost per tonne of potential reductions,” Mullock said. “Each Climate Change Action Plan initiative relying on GGRA dollars must include the estimated funding amount within the plan.”
- Annual Cost of running an electric furnace: $2,722 based on 19,171 kWh at $0.420 per kWh
- Annual cost of running a gas furnace: $668 based on 1,971 M3 at $0.2181
Difference: $2,054 a year
- Annual cost of running an electric water heater: $838
- Annual cost of running a natural gas water heater: $194
Combined savings of gas over electric: $2,698
(Source: Ontario Natural Gas Alliance)
- Percentage of Ontario households with forced-air furnaces: 76%
- Percentage of Ontario households where natural gas is principal energy source: 62%
- Percentage of total Ontario household energy use coming from natural gas: 58%
(Source: Statistics Canada)