Rates Changes April 2017

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Understanding Quarterly Rate Changes

The rates Union Gas charges customers are regulated by the Ontario Energy Board and are adjusted every three months (January, April, July and October), to reflect changes in the market price of natural gas and natural gas transportation services. We buy these items from the market and pass the costs through to our customers without a mark-up. You pay what we pay.

How this impacts you

North American market prices for natural gas have increased recently, which could result in an increase in the rates you pay for natural gas beginning in April. The actual rates will not be finalised until mid-March, however we are predicting the following changes:

  • Households - a bill increase of between $3 and $5 a month for a typical residential household using 2,300 cubic metres of natural gas per year
  • Businesses - a bill increase of $100-$215 a month for an average business using 73,000 cubic metres of natural gas per year in the South and 93,000 in the North

Union Gas can help you manage your energy costs

  • Energy-saving advice, rebates and promotions
    We provide a variety of energy-saving programs, incentives and tools to help you save money on your energy bills.  More information is available at:
  • Equal Billing Plan
    Our Equal Billing Plan will help spread your gas costs evenly throughout the year so you won't get bigger bills in the winter and smaller ones in the summer. Enrol in the Equal Billing Plan today!
  • Energy Assistance Program
    Our Energy Assistance Program is designed for low-income families and individuals who, due to reduced income or personal difficulties, are behind or at risk of falling behind on their gas bill payments. Please view our agency listing for the delivery agency nearest you.

Natural gas remains the most affordable energy choice

Although there are seasonal fluctuations, natural gas prices have declined dramatically since 2008 due to the discovery of new supplies in areas close to Ontario, and are lower today than they were 10 years ago.

Heating your home and water with natural gas is far cheaper than using electricity, propane or oil.  Over the past two winters, homeowners have saved between $1,700 and $2,200 a year by using natural gas rather than electricity, oil or propane for heat and hot water, compared to these other fuels.

Why is Union Gas expecting to increase the rates customers pay for natural gas?

Union Gas adjusts the rates we charge our customers every three months to reflect changes in market price we pay for gas supplies. Although the rate changes for April are not yet final, we are tracking an increase in the market price we expect to pay for natural gas supplies for the coming year. In addition we expect an adjustment for the difference between our forecast for natural gas and the actual costs, from prior periods.  Combined, this could mean a bill increase for a typical residential household of between $3 and $5 a month.

When will these rate changes go into effect?

We expect to apply to the Ontario Energy Board for an April rate adjustment in mid-March. As such, the numbers we are providing are a forecast. Once the rate changes are finalized and approved, the rates would remain in effect from April 1 through June 30, 2017.

Why do you make adjustments for the cost of natural gas supplies and transportation services from prior periods?

The rates we charge customers for natural gas supplies and natural gas transportation services is based on a forecast of the price we expect to pay to buy these items from the market. The actual market costs can differ from our forecast and adjustments are made quarterly (Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, Oct. 1), to either collect or refund the difference so that customers pay the actual cost for these items, nothing more.

Will the price of natural gas increase in the future?

The price of natural gas can vary based on the amount of supply or demand for the product. Although weather-related price fluctuations can happen, long-term forecasts indicate that natural gas will continue to be most economical source of energy for homes and businesses.

How will this rate change impact equal billing customers?

Equal billing payments were established in September based on a forecast of the amount of natural gas used over the course of a year, and of what natural gas prices were forecast to be during that same period. We will be reviewing equal billing accounts in April to determine if equal billing payments are set at the correct level based on the more current information which includes rate changes. If it is not, we will adjust payments up or down so that the total amount paid remains aligned with the expected cost.  A final true up will between what was paid and the actual cost will occur in August.

How does this rate change impact customers who buy natural gas from an energy marketer?

If you purchase your natural gas supplies from an energy marketer, the price paid for gas depends on the terms of the contract, and is excluded from this estimated rate change.