Affordable Heating on the Way: Ontario Passes Legislation to Expand Access to Natural Gas
Changes will help rural families save up to $2,500 a year on home heating
WARWICK — Ontario's Government for the People has delivered on a promise to make life more affordable for rural families through the passage of Bill 32, The Access to Natural Gas Act.
With the passage of Bill 32, help is on the way for tens of thousands of rural residents currently without access to natural gas. The legislation makes it possible for a new program that, once the regulations are in place, would be designed to expand access to natural gas to more parts of rural and northern Ontario, as well as First Nations communities.
"Access to natural gas is not just a question of convenience. For many, it's a choice between heating and eating," said Minister McNaughton, who today announced the bill's passage while at a family farm in Warwick, Ontario. "Having access to natural gas makes life more affordable and puts more money in people's pockets."
Switching from propane, electric heat or oil to natural gas can save an average residential customer between $800 and $2,500 a year. This builds on the government's cancellation of the cap-and-trade carbon tax, which will save families on average $80 per year and small businesses $285 per year.
"This is really exciting news," said farmer Duane Ferguson, owner of Ferguson's Scattered Acres in Warwick, who relies on industrial heaters to dry his crops such as soybeans, grain, corn and sugar beets. "With natural gas, I'd be saving about half my $50,000 heating bill. For me and my family, that's an unbelievable savings."
The new program will be designed to help the private sector expand access to natural gas for up to 78 new communities in Ontario. That means approximately 33,000 new households in Ontario could potentially save up to $2,500 per year in energy costs.
"What really sets this program apart is our government's ability to strategically partner with the private sector, which will help us get the job done for the people of Ontario," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. "We believe that a market solution, a private sector alternative, can keep more money in your pocket instead of using taxpayer dollars."
"The passage of this legislation is important for families and businesses in rural Ontario," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Providing more access to natural gas will help lower the cost of living. It will give people more money to re-invest in the local economy, and help Ontario communities attract more businesses, create jobs, and ensure that Ontario is open for business."
Ontario is working with the Ontario Energy Board to develop the details of the new program.
- Natural gas is the most common heating source in Ontario and is more affordable than other sources like electricity, oil or propane.
- Currently, about 3.5 million homes and 130,000 businesses in Ontario use natural gas.
- This legislation would potentially enable natural gas connections for up to 78 communities, making connections available for approximately 33,000 households.
- Rural Ontario is a significant driver of Ontario’s economy, contributing $106 billion to the province’s GDP and supporting 1.2 million jobs.