To the Editor:
Ontarians deserve access to reliable and affordable heating. That is why two years ago, our government began expanding access to natural gas to areas that historically have not been able to connect to the distribution system.
Natural gas is Ontario’s most common heating source and is more affordable than other sources such as electricity, oil or propane.
By enabling Ontario’s natural gas providers to expand their lines and infrastructure to 16 communities across the province, more people than ever before have been able to switch their heating source to natural gas.
This has been a game-changer for rural and Northern Ontario, helping the average residential customer save between $250 and $1,500 a year.
We expect 9,000 customers in areas such as North Bay, South Bruce, Durham Region, Chatham-Kent and Middlesex County to directly benefit from Phase 1 of our government’s expansion program. The savings are putting more money back in people’s pockets while also making small communities more attractive for job creation and new businesses, all of which we need during this time of economic instability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After switching to natural gas, Scugog Island resident John Powell was surprised by the savings he saw after only one heating season.
“Throughout my 40 years in my home, I’ve had a range of fuels from electric to oil heating our home. I read up on the benefits of natural gas, but even still was surprised by the cost savings I’ve experienced after one heating season,” said Powell.
Chatham-Kent area greenhouse owner Greg Devries says he is pleased with the outcome of our program because it has offered him a new path to grow his business.
“We’ve tapped into the natural gas infrastructure at our farms and have already seen the benefits to our bottom line,” says Devries, owner of Cedarline Greenhouses, who has two farms connected to the Chatham-Kent Rural Pipeline Expansion Project.
“We have plans to expand our operation to include up to 30 acres of new greenhouses, and natural gas helped make that happen. We can continue to grow knowing that we’ll have long-term access to this affordable energy source,” said Devries.
Many of the customers that will benefit from the Natural Gas Expansion Program are switching from more carbon-intensive heating sources, like heating oil. This means that natural gas expansion can be net carbon-neutral or net carbon-negative, as natural gas replaces more GHG-intensive sources of energy.
Building on the success of Phase 1, Ontario is now moving ahead with Phase 2 of the program, which means we will be enabling expanded access to natural gas to even more families and businesses throughout Ontario’s rural, Northern and Indigenous communities.
Over 200 proposals were submitted for Phase 2, and our government has made it a priority for available funding to be distributed as broadly and fairly as possible to communities all across Ontario.
I look forward to announcing Phase 2 projects in the coming weeks and sharing more success stories about our work to connect even more Ontarians to affordable natural gas.
The Honourable Bill Walker
Associate Minister of Energy