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  • Southern Ontario to see Gas Price Hikes

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Following a rather sudden and brutally-cold winter, Ontario homeowners may find that their energy bill is going to start rising, as gas shortages around Southern Ontario force Enbridge to petition the Ontario Energy Board for a price hike.

It shouldn’t come to a surprise for many, given the events of the GTA Icestorm last December, nor in the face of rapidly decreasing winter temperatures that have seen homeowner utility bills sitting on average 20% higher than they did the previous year. Excessive consumption of gas resources, as Enbridge claims, has led to a gas shortage that’s affecting both municipal homes, and public utilities such as gas-fired power generators in the region.

The proposal includes a 40% rate hike on all natural gas distributed under Enbridge starting April 1st. For the average homeowner, who pays about $1,000 annually for natural gas resources, this could add as much as $400 to their annual utility bill. It’s also expected, due to the requirement of natural gas for electricity generation, that there may be a smaller price hike in the future for electrical use.

News comes to a shock for Ontario homeowners, who have already spent considerably most this winter than in previous winters to combat the uncharacteristically cold weather. And with shortages expected in the coming years, the question isn’t: when will see rates drop?

Rather, the question should be: what can we do to avoid paying too much for our gas? Old advice dies hard in this situation. Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch advises Ontario homeowners to turn own thermostats when they’re not needed, to limit hot water use as much as possible, and to control heating to periods where you’re at home.

Ontario Energy Group Consumer Watch also advises homeowners to consider refitting existing furnace and hot water appliances to more energy efficient standards. With gas prices on the rise, controlling your consumption can be as simple as using appliances that are up to more modern, efficient standards. A home assessment can help homeowners learn if their appliances are keeping their homes warm, or just draining their wallets.

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