Enbridge customers in Ottawa and eastern Ontario face natural gas price hike on July 1
At a time when natural gas bills would typically be cooling down in the summer, Enbridge Gas customers are set to see their bills get jacked up.
The Ontario Energy Board has approved Enbridge for a rate increase of 18.5 per cent to 23.2 per cent beginning July 1. For an average bill of $110, that could result in as much as $300 extra per year.
A statement from Enbridge Gas communications advisor Krista Luxton says, "The war in Ukraine 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, which are anticipated to continue for some time."
"When you start blocking pipelines, natural gas and oil, in a country like Canada with some of the largest provable reserves in the world, you can expect these prices to go through the roof and that's exactly what's happened," says Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.
Natural gas prices are updated quarterly, and McTeague says they have been on the rise since last year.
"This time last year if you were paying $900, look to pay about $1,400."
Renfrew resident David Ainsworth has noticed an increase already on his bill.
"In the last few months the price of gas has gone up by at least 50 per cent in the last several months," Ainsworth says to CTV News Ottawa. "And you add on other costs such as the carbon tax which is another influencing factor. Yeah, yeah it's gone up for sure."
Between skyhigh gasoline prices and now rising natural gas prices, Ainsworth says there's no escaping inflation whether you're on the road or staying home.
"This is a serious issue for anybody who's having to get around and heat their homes, which means all of us."
Some Enbridge customers may have already noticed a sharp increase to their bills, with gas meter checks not taking place as scheduled.
The gas company says they aim to check metres once a month but have been unable to do so due to the pandemic, which has resulted in usage estimates being higher than normal.
Enbridge says overages can be corrected once the metre has been read. Alternatively customers can report their metre readings to Enbridge themselves.
The Ontario Energy Board says the International Energy Agency warns of continued pressure rising prices beyond this quarter.