Home Heating Prices Could Increase In Canada This Winter & Here's The Reason Why
We're currently experiencing "historically high natural gas market prices."
As Canada braces itself for an early start to winter, it looks like home heating prices will also be one to watch.
In a statement to Narcity, energy supplier Enbridge Gas said that "continuing Russian conflict paired with strong domestic demand and increased global demand for U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports has resulted in historically high natural gas market prices."
Moreover, these increases are "anticipated to continue for some time."
Canada has a "market-based energy policy that accepts global prices as the basis for the energy sources," Natural Resources Canada, a department of the federal government, explained to Narcity in a statement.
That means that global prices - which are quite high at the moment due to the energy crisis in Europe and higher demand - will trickle down and affect Canadians.
Some of the other factors affecting the price of energy in Canada include transportation costs, inventory levels, local supply challenges and extreme weather.
The federal government has no jurisdiction over the regulation of energy pricing, which means it falls onto the provinces and territories to determine how much Canadians will pay.
In B.C., the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has the power to collect and publish data on fuel pricing to increase transparency in the market.
Meanwhile, in Ontario, Enbridge has been working with the Ontario Energy Board to moderate the market price. The rates customers pay for natural gas are adjusted every three months to reflect the market prices.
But first, these have to be reviewed and approved by the Ontario Energy Board. The last increment in July raised prices by approximately 20%, according to CityNews. The next change will be issued in September, with an October 1 effective date.
However, it won't be a huge jump. That’s because the OEB uses "rate mitigation" to protect consumers. This works by spreading out the cost recovery over a longer period, so customers don't have to deal with large bill increases all at once.
This year, Enbridge added that the annual bill for a typical residential customer in the Enbridge Gas Distribution zone has increased by approximately $420.
That makes it about $1,458 per year.
According to OEB, "since the price of natural gas fluctuates with market forces, it is difficult to predict for how long prices will rise."
If you're worried about the price of home heating, Enbridge recommends taking steps to increase the energy efficiency of your home or business before the cold weather sets in.
There are federal affordability programs you can look into, as well as provincial options. In Alberta, for example, there are rebates coming to address high winter heating costs this year.
Low-income customers in Ontario, for example, can also qualify for relief through LEAP, with financial grants of up to $1000 per calendar year.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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