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Natural gas rates set to rise again, ahead of winter

Relief from a second round of natural gas price hikes are available through a number of programs for qualifying families already squeezed by the skyrocketing cost of everything
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For Enbridge customers, who make up the vast majority of natural gas customers in the province, this means a hike of $74.18 a year / stock image

Gas home heating costs are set to rise again on Oct. 1 as furnaces turn on for the cooler fall weather.

Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns is calling on Doug Ford to give families relief on their bills as Ontarians worry about heating costs ahead of a cold winter.

“Families were already feeling squeezed by the skyrocketing cost of everything, and people are extremely worried about another natural gas price increase as winter approaches,” Tabuns said in a statement this week.

“Will families be forced to wear their winter coats and mittens inside to keep their heating costs down? Will seniors on fixed incomes be forced to cut back their grocery budgets even more than they already have?”

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has approved changes to Enbridge Gas' rates effective Oct. 1.

The total impact on your bill will depend on how much gas you use and the terms of your gas marketer agreement.

According to the Ontario Energy Board, the average natural gas prices are set to rise from $64.80 to $163.83 annually for a typical residential user, depending on the provider.  

For Enbridge customers, who make up the vast majority of natural gas customers in the province, this means a hike of $74.18 a year.

This isn’t the first time Ontarians have been hit with an increase in natural gas rates this year. A previous rate increase included a roughly 20-per-cent hike in July.  

The increases are not unique to Canada. Millions of people in the United Kingdom are experiencing colossal rises to their energy bills over the next few months.

Prices have shot up across Europe, driven by a spike in demand as countries lifted pandemic lockdowns, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine causing a significant drop in Russia’s oil and natural gas exports to Europe resulting in even higher price increases.

The OEB offers an emergency Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) for electricity or natural gas customers who are behind on their bills and at risk of having their service shut off. For more information, visit here.

Enbridge has a number of programs that can help people facing difficulties making payments. Low-income households can apply for some relief through the low-income energy assistance program. People can visit the website here, for more information.

For Enbridge customers, the company also offers incentives to make homes more energy efficient, like an upgrade to insulation, air sealing, new water heaters and windows.

After paying rent or a mortgage, heat and hydro are the second biggest expenses for households across the region.

According to the Region of Waterloo, if residents are behind on utility bills or need ongoing financial assistance to make hydro affordable, there are several programs they can apply for.

The region says these grants or reductions can help alleviate stress, prevent disconnection, and even prevent the loss of a home. 

For more information, visit the Region of Waterloo here.

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Barbara Latkowski

About the Author: Barbara Latkowski

Barbara graduated with a Masters degree in Journalism from Western University and has covered politics, arts and entertainment, health, education, sports, courts, social justice, and issues that matter to the community. She joined CambridgeToday in 2021
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