Ontario Supporting Communities by Expanding Access to Natural Gas
Ontario is proposing to develop a program to facilitate the expansion of access to natural gas as part of the government's plan to make life easier and more affordable for families and businesses.
Addressing demand for natural gas in Ontario
Natural gas is an affordable heating option for families and businesses. Approximately 3.5 million residential customers and 130,000 businesses across Ontario rely on natural gas currently.
The demand for expanded natural gas access across Ontario is high. The government has heard from families, businesses, and communities across Ontario that natural gas expansion is important in order to grow businesses, create jobs and compete. Switching to natural gas can save an average residential customer between $800 and $2,500 a year.
Most Ontarians who lack access to natural gas live in rural, remote, and First Nation communities.
Working with communities to expand access to natural gas
Under the proposed program, communities would continue to partner with gas distributors to bring forward natural gas expansion applications to the Ontario Energy Board.
If the proposed legislation is passed, the government will work with the Ontario Energy Board to develop regulations to enable the program over fall 2018. More details about timing will become available as that work proceeds.
The program would provide natural gas to potentially dozens of communities across Ontario by enabling private sector participation in the expansion of natural gas. Allowing private capital to build new natural gas networks would reduce gas bills over time for every Ontarian and gas would get to more communities faster, with some communities coming online within months.
Exact details about the program, including which customers would be eligible to receive support would be set out transparently in regulations, if the proposed legislation is passed and related approvals are received.