Natural Gas Rate Changes April 1, 2017

Ontario natural gas prices are changing

The vast majority of natural gas customers across Ontario will see changes on their bills below or close to the rate of inflation beginning on April 1, 2017.

The amount of the rate change will vary between utilities and how much natural gas individual customers use. Residential customers using the typical* amount of natural gas each month can expect to see their monthly bills rise as follows:

• + $0.67 for Enbridge Gas Distribution customers
• + $0.81 for Natural Resource Gas (NRG) customers
• +$1.68 for Union Gas Southern customers
• + $3.40 for Union Gas North East customers
• + $4.19 for Union Gas Northwest customers

Despite these rate changes, overall, customers are still paying significantly less than they were at peak periods in 2009 and 2014, when natural gas costs were higher in Ontario due to factors including high market prices and unusually cold weather.

The changes will take effect on April 1, 2017 for customers of Ontario’s three natural gas utilities – Enbridge Gas Distribution, Union Gas and Natural Resources Gas (NRG). The changes reflect the routine quarterly adjustment for the market price of the natural gas commodity – known as the Quarterly Rate Adjustment Mechanism (QRAM).

The QRAM

As a commodity, natural gas prices fluctuate daily and can change significantly over the course of a year, rising and falling based on factors such as weather and supply and demand.

Every three months, natural gas companies apply to adjust their rates to cover the cost of the market price of natural gas. Adjusting the rates each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 helps smooth the price to shield customers from sharp price swings that can occur on the market. Utilities are not allowed to earn a profit on the commodity cost of natural gas so these costs are passed on to customers by utilities without a mark-up.

QRAM adjustments for each utility are as follows:

• +0.89% for Enbridge customers, reflecting an increase in transportation and commodity costs, as well as changes to the load balancing and commodity cost true ups from prior periods
• +1.1% for NRG customers, reflecting an increase in gas supply charges
• +2.52% for Union Gas South customers, reflecting the expiration of a rebate credit from April 2016 that is partially offset by lower commodity forecast costs
• +3.88% for Union Gas North Eastern customers, reflecting an increase in gas supply charges that is partially offset by lower commodity forecast costs
• +5.33% for Union Gas Northwest customers, reflecting the expiration of a rate adjustment (credit) from April 2016 and increasing commodity and transportation costs

Cap & Trade

After being introduced on January 1, 2017, the interim rates for cap and trade included in the “Delivery to You” line of the bill remain unchanged.

Utility Rate Adjustments

There are no changes to the distribution rates – reflected in the “Delivery to You” and “Customer Charge” lines on the bill – for this period.

Mississauga’s Proposed Housing Strategy Focuses on Middle-Income Households

City of Mississauga staff yesterday presented Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga to the Planning and Development Committee for their consideration.

The draft strategy aims to foster a supportive development environment for private and non-profit builders to provide a range of housing that is affordable for all, with a focus on middle-income households earning $55,000 to $100,000.
It offers 40 actions based on existing municipal powers to achieve its goals. It also proposes establishing interim city-wide housing targets for market rental and affordable ownership of 35 per cent based on those in the Region of Peel Official Plan.
“Housing is an issue that touches every Mississauga resident and business,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Council has already endorsed in-principle, actions to protect existing rental housing and create a housing-first policy for surplus lands. Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga is the City’s plan to provide, together with our partners, a supportive development environment for a range of affordable housing.”
The 40 actions emphasize the importance of making full use of the tools the City has at its disposal. The City can create a supportive environment for affordable housing through actions such as making lands development ready and preserving rental housing. The actions also reflect the importance of working in partnership with senior levels of government and the Region of Peel to achieve system reforms and realize the goals.
“Middle-income households are a critical part of the workforce that supports the City’s long-term economic prosperity,” said Ed Sajecki, Commissioner of Planning and Building. “The goal is to remove existing regulatory barriers, enhance legislative powers and work with our partners to preserve existing housing and support the development of new housing that is affordable.”
As next steps, the City will host a Housing Forum in spring 2017 to share the draft strategy with stakeholders and the public for their comments. The City will forward the draft strategy to the Region of Peel, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Ministry of Housing and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. City staff will present the final strategy to Council later in 2017.
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Now Open: 2017 City of Mississauga Designated Heritage Property Grant Program

Heritage property owners in Mississauga are eligible to apply for grant funding through the 2017 City of Mississauga Designated Heritage Property Grant Program.

The program, which opens on Friday, February 17, 2017, offers grants to help heritage property owners with restoration, conservation and repair to a property designated as heritage under the Ontario Heritage Act. Matching grants from $500 to $5,000 are available for general conservation and from $500 to $10,000 for the repair or restoration of structural elements.

How to Apply
Details, eligibility criteria and the online application are available through the Heritage Planning website at mississauga.ca/heritageplanning.

Deadline
The deadline for applying is Friday, March 24, 2017 by 4:30 p.m.